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Synopsis

The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) was concluded among the countries of Southeastern Europe with the aim to promote further trade integration. The agreement states the objective to 'expand trade in goods and services and foster investment by means of fair, clear, stable and predictable rules.' While recent literature on trade in the CEFTA region has focused on analyzing trade in goods, the purpose of the paper is to identify the remaining barriers to trade in services among the CEFTA countries. The paper presents: (i) the economic and trade importance of the service sector in CEFTA countries, and (ii) the existing barriers to trade in services between CEFTA countries, with a focus on four sectors: construction, land transport, legal and information technology (ICT) services. The analysis shows that the export of services has a significant share in CEFTA countries. These countries have achieved considerable market openness, mostly in the context of pursuing WTO and EU accession. Nonetheless, obstacles to trade in services remain. Some, such as the movement of professional workers, are of general nature, while others are sector specific.

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