The proposal on the customs tariffs will be discussed at the third round of negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between Moldova and the European Union, to take place in September in Chisinau. This will clarify for which products imported from the EU the Moldovan market will gradually open itself. Other key issues to be discussed include the instruments which Moldova will be able to use to protect domestic producers, revealed Deputy Economi Minister Octavian Calmic.
At the second round, which was held during June 11-15 in Brussels, the negotiations focused on the legal content of the DCFTA Agreement's 13 chapters. “We reached consensus on most formulations concerning access of goods and services on the energy market, intellectual property, transparency, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, origin rules, customs administration, and facilitation of trade. However, we remain a little behind the agenda with respect to competition: this includes the Law on State Aid, which was approved by Parliament in second reading on Friday, and the new Law on Competition. We also need to review the Law on Public Procurement and adjust our procurement procedures to European standards”, said Octavian Calmic.
After the September round, Octavian Calmic confirmed that a new one is scheduled for November in Brussels, with the last two rounds to be held in 2013. In this way, the negotiation process is expected to be completed by the fall of 2013, as previously announced by EU and Moldovan officials.
Following the completion of negotiations, the DCFTA Agreement will need to be ratified by all the 27 EU member states, a process expected to last at least one year. This means that the Agreement will take effect by the end of 2014, coinciding with the expiry of the Autonomous Trade Preferences grated by the EU to Moldova.
With respect to the third round of talks, Octavian Calmic highlighted the importance of communication with the business community so as identify their problems and requests. The Government even developed a questionnaire for this purpose.
The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between Moldova and the European Union implies a gradual liberalization of trade in goods and services, free movement of labor force, lower customs duties, removal of technical and non-tariff barriers, annulment of quotas, and harmonization of Moldova's legislation with the EU acquis. The DCFTA will replace the current unilateral Autonomous Trade Preferences grated by the EU to Moldova.