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Bloomberg.com - Serbia, Montenegro to Get Separate Trade-Tariff Status From EU

Published date: 06.09.2004 15:33 | Author: Kliping inostranih medija

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Serbia, Montenegro to Get Separate Trade-Tariff Status From EU

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Serbia and Montenegro will be offered separate trade tariffs by European Union governments seeking to foster their economic development without dissolving the political union between the two ex-Yugoslav republics.

EU foreign ministers agreed on the "twin track'' approach to spur agricultural and industrial exports from the two republics, where economic output is barely half the 1990 level and unemployment is running at over 30 percent.

"We endorse very strongly the existence of the state union,'' Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot told a news conference after chairing an EU meeting in St. Gerlach, Netherlands. EU treatment of the two countries will vary in "a number of economic and commercial elements.''

Serbia and Montenegro are coexisting under the same political roof while managing their economic affairs, tax collection and government spending separately.

Serbia and Montenegro forced the dual status because of their "complete disagreement about the harmonization of tariffs,'' EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said.

The EU had sought a common trade policy "but, to be frank, we've made no progress,'' the former British minister said.