Moldova, European officials hold talks on deep and comprehensive free trade agreement

The negotiators of a Moldova-EU deep and comprehensive free trade agreement held several Chisinau-Brussels video conferences on the matter on 15-16 May. The officials discussed the sides’ offers as regards the sensitive agricultural products and services, the Economics Ministry’s information and media communication service has reported.

Moldova’s offer proposed for negotiations to the European partners provides for a step-by-step liberalisation, up to 10 years, of certain agro-food products, such as: fresh vegetables and fruit, cans, juices, some dairy products, etc. This will allow the Moldovan businessmen to increase the competitiveness of their products directed both to the interior and external markets.

At the same time, in order to protect local producers, the officials proposed to set some tariff-rate quotas for a range of European foodstuffs, such as: meat, sugar, certain dairy products, etc. The established quantity of the negotiated quotas was determined by the local production level and by its growth forecasts, as well as by the interior market’s consumption.

For their part, the EU’s representatives came up with an offer, which provided for annually establishing the level of the quantity designed for export for certain Moldovan agro-food products. According to the offer, about 10 groups of goods, such as: meat, sugar, cereals, diary products, eggs, will be exported, without any customs duty payment, within the limits of the established quantity. At the same time, the EU offer gives the possibility to adjust the export volume year on year depending on the Moldovan economic agent’s demand.

Referring to the wine sector, the sides established that the local wine producers would have unlimited access to the EU market, with no customs duty payment.

The officials also approached the concluding of juridical aspects of the agreement as regards services, which provides for this sector’s liberalisation. In the experts’ opinion, this fact will ensure a significant increase in quality of the services provided by Moldovan companies, in line with the international level, as well as it will allow quickly develop a range of presently untapped services.

The VIIth round of negotiations on the Moldova-EU deep and comprehensive free trade agreement will be held in Chisinau on 10-14 June 2013. According to the agenda, the topics of the talks will include the completion of the juridical texts and of the offers.

In the period of 2010-2015, Moldova has been in a continuous process of preparing its economy for a free trade regime with the EU, which sees for the reorganisation of 13 areas: quality infrastructure, customs management, intellectual property, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, public procurement, etc.

The negotiations on the Moldova-EU deep and comprehensive free trade agreement (DCFTA) started in March 2012. The last round of talks was held in Brussels on 11-14 March 2013. The DCFTA will ensure Moldova’s economic integration in the EU area. It will also provide for a gradual liberalisation of trade, for cuts in customs taxes and will allow reducing technical obstacles. According to a study carried out by the European Union, the DCFTA will foster the Moldovan export by 16 per cent, whereas Moldova’s GDP will increase by 5.6 per cent.

Adapted from Moldpres