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EU, Montenegro sign deal on WTO accession

The European Union  and Montenegro signed a bilateral agreement on Tuesday on the Western Balkan country’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

“Today’s signature is an important milestone in Montenegro’s WTO accession process,” said EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson Tuesday, hailing Montenegro’s progress in preparing for WTO entry as “remarkable.” The signing of the agreement caps three years of negotiations between the EU and Montenegro, making the bloc the first WTO member to conclude bilateral talks with the country.

Montenegrin Vice Prime Minister Gordana Djurovic, who was a signatory to the deal along with David O’Sullivan, the director general of the European Commission’s trade department, has vowed to intensify efforts to complete talks with other WTO members. “We will now step up our efforts to also complete bilateral negotiations with other WTO members,” she said. “If we work with our partners in a constructive way, I am confident that my country can still join the WTO before the end of the year.”

Montenegro and the EU have reached agreements on trade tariffs and reciprocal opening of their services markets. Before Montenegro gains entry into the WTO, it must complete bilateral talks with other WTO members and have its accession endorsed by a multilateral working group at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. (