Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Trade regimes, investment promotion and export prospects in the Western Balkans

Mulaj, Isa (2009): Trade regimes, investment promotion and export prospects in the Western Balkans. Published in: Universum Journal , Vol. 3, No. 2 (June 2009): pp. 221-244.


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Once regarded as a more prosperous part of socialist world, the region that was within the Yugoslav common market now excludes Slovenia and includes Albania to be renamed as the Western Balkans. After a decade of social unrest and civil wars of mainly ethnic character, it has yet to come up in terms of economic development that is behind some advanced transition economies, namely those in Visegrad countries. With the admission of Bulgaria and Romania in the European Union (EU) since 2007, the Western Balkans finds itself completely surrounded by the EU. Despite that political environment is still fragile, the progress in economic cooperation is gaining a momentum through bilateral free trade agreements which recently are superseded by a single common agreement – Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), though the risk that the former to undermine the latter should not be underestimated. Whether current reforms are a process of push factors from inside – the necessity of small economies for greater cooperation, or encouraged as a prerequisite by the EU – regional economic integration facilitates the road to the EU accession and membership, they first of all are designed and initiated for sustainable development and better economic welfare. The aim of this paper is two fold: first, to investigate the prospect of trade regimes, investment promotion programs and export incentives; and second, to find out to what extent these reforms are contributing to economic integration and political stabilization of the Western Balkans.

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