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IFC, EU Help Western Balkans Simplify Trade Procedures to Boost Economic Growth


In Belgrade:
Slobodan Brkic

Phone: +381 11 3023 750

E-mail:
SBrkic@ifc.org


Belgrade, Serbia, December 5, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is implementing a program funded by the European Union to reduce trade logistics constraints and harmonize border clearance procedures in the Western Balkans, stimulating economic growth and development.

IFC’s new Trade Logistics Project will organize and support activities in each economy, using a regional framework to simplify and harmonize regulations. The project will cover trade within the Western Balkans, with the EU, and with other regional markets. IFC will assist the various governments in the Western Balkans to liberalize trade, particularly in line with practices of the European Union and Central European Free Trade Agreement.


“Exporters from the Western Balkans not only have to compete in quality and price, they also have to be able to deliver goods quickly to various markets,” said Jesper Kjaer, Regional Head of IFC Advisory Services in Europe and Central Asia. “In partnership with the European Union, we aim to eliminate delays at borders, and so increase the competitiveness of companies in the Western Balkans.”


Globally, reducing time-to-trade can increase exports from 3 to 6 percent. This project aims to reduce the time and cost required to import and export in the Western Balkans, which will save private sector companies an estimated €7.5 million per year. In addition, the project will cooperate with the EU to complement its trade logistics work and avoid duplication of effort.


The project will help find regional solutions to trade logistics challenges in order to benefit from economies of scale, and also will work in areas that impact trade logistics, such as fighting trade in illicit goods, consumer protection, intellectual property rights, and removing barriers to electronic trading.


Companies increasingly use global sourcing strategies that require flexible, speedy, and cost-effective solutions. In response to this demand, IFC in 2007 launched its Trade Logistics Advisory Product to help countries build efficient trade logistics systems and services.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

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