Central European Countries to Strengthen Economic Cooperation

Views on BG | September 15, 2002, Sunday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0

XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

Leaders from the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) countries signed a joint declaration Saturday, calling for further eliminating trade barriers and enhancing economic cooperation within the organization.

Prime ministers and their deputies from the seven-member trade bloc evaluated the latest CEFTA cooperation, debated the European Union (EU) accession process and exchanged integration experience during their two-day meeting in Bratislava, the TASR news agency reported.

Croatian deputy premier Slavko Linic also attended the summit. It is expected that Croatia will join the bloc at the beginning of 2003.

After the talks, the leaders said that trade in agricultural and food products remained the most problematic among some member countries and they should find a solution through direct consultations to remove the existing tensions.

Regarding the imbalance among some member countries, the statement stressed that new protective measures can be introduced and applied only on the basis of the free trade agreement.

Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda urged his colleagues to reassess the reasonability of the measures and consider their possible cancellation as soon as possible.

CEFTA leaders also agreed to support joint interests in pre- accession talks with the EU, especially in the agriculture sector.

Meanwhile, the leaders pledged to coordinate their proceeding during the next round of multilateral talks in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

CEFTA was established in 1992, and its current members include Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
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