Implementing the reform agenda for trade and competitiveness in South East Europe

Project description

Title: Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe – Foreign Trade  (ORF-FT)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Cofinanced by: European Union
Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia​​​​​​​
Lead executing agency: Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2006 to 2023

Open regional funds for South-East Europe – foreign trade promotion: One-stop-shop information system on trade facilitation © GIZ


The increase of trade and competitiveness between the signatory parties of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) offers considerable potential for their economies. Yet, the implementation of the corresponding measures lags behind the regional agreements, leading to slow harmonisation of trade-related laws and regulations with EU standards and persistence of legal and administrative barriers for companies. The value of electronic commerce in the CEFTA region is growing, but its full potential remains untapped. Start-ups from the region face difficulties accessing new markets and in gaining international clients, while offering innovative and suitable support to their upcoming enterprises remains the main challenge for start-up hubs.


CEFTA members have improved the implementation of the reform agenda for trade and competitiveness in the CEFTA region in line with the requirements of the EU approximation process.


The project supports capacity building of the CEFTA structures, line ministries, relevant authorities and private sector organisations.

ORF- FT supports regional initiatives which focus on the facilitation of trade in goods and services with the ultimate goal of creating a common market. These initiatives promote the mutual recognition of Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) and border documents which enable simpler and cheaper cross-border procedures, and work on joint risk management for customs and border agencies. The purpose of these measures is to assist the involved agencies in the detection of irregularities and focus their work on risky transactions.

In the field of trade in services, the project provides analysis and training to CEFTA contact points to enable them to effectively coordinate the implementation of the Additional Protocol 6 of the CEFTA Agreement on the Facilitation of Trade.

The project fosters regional cooperation on innovation and electronic commerce by strengthening the competitiveness of start-up hubs and e-commerce providers for new markets.

Last update: Februar 2022


Additional information