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Trade in Southeast Europe : recent trends and some policy implications


  • Milica Uvalic


Trade liberalisation in Southeast Europe (SEE) has been strongly promoted by the European Union (EU) in recent years, as part of its initiatives aimed at stimulating regional cooperation among the SEE countries. The Stabilisation and Association Process launched in 1999 for the five countries of the so-called western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro - explicitly requires the implementation of regional cooperation as a condition for speeding up the process of EU integration. In the area of economic cooperation, trade liberalisation has become one of the principal instrument for promoting these objectives. A Memorandum of Understanding on Trade Liberalisation and Facilitation was signed on 27 June 2001 in Brussels by the Foreign Trade Ministers of SEE countries, which envisaged the conclusion of bilateral free trade agreements. The paper analyses recent trends in trade of the SEE countries. Some general features of the SEE region in 1989 are first presented (section 2). The impact of the political and economic events of the 1990s on trade relations among the SEE countries is then considered (section 3). Trade patterns of the SEE countries over the last five years are analysed in some detail (section 4). Some controversial issues raised in recent debates on trade liberalisation in SEE are also discussed, explaining why interpretations sometimes differ (section 5). The main conclusions and some policy implications are given at the end (section 6).

Suggested Citation

  • Milica Uvalic, 2006. "Trade in Southeast Europe : recent trends and some policy implications," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 3(2), pages 171-195, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:liu:liucej:v:3:y:2006:i:2:p:171-195

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward Christie, 2001. "Potential Trade in Southeast Europe: A Gravity Model Approach," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 11, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    2. Neil Foster-McGregor & Vladimir Gligorov & H.Y. Liu & Johannes Pöschl & Joanna Poznanska & Kazimierz Poznanski & Robert Stehrer, 2011. "Monthly Report No. 3/2011," wiiw Monthly Reports 2011-03, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    3. Jane Miljovski & Vanco Uzunov, 2002. "International and Regional Economic Integration in South East Europe: The Case of Macedonia," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 19, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eur:ejesjr:85 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Uvalic, Milica, 2010. "Transition in Southeast Europe: Understanding Economic Development and Institutional Change," WIDER Working Paper Series 041, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Mulaj, Isa, 2009. "Trade regimes, investment promotion and export prospects in the Western Balkans," MPRA Paper 38143, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Trade flows; Trade liberalisation; Economic integration; Regional cooperation; EU policies towards Southeast Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • P33 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - International Trade, Finance, Investment, Relations, and Aid
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations


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