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Import tariffs and trade barriers

Bulgaria follows the Harmonized System (HS) adopted by the Customs Cooperation Council. Import duties are ad valorem for agricultural products; some products such as meat have minimum import duties. Bulgaria's tariff schedules consist of two columns of rates. The column 1 rate applies to the 118 countries that qualify for preferential duty rates. Column 2 is equivalent to Most-Favored Nation (MFN) status. Forty-two countries, including the United States, are subject to column 2. Approximately 80 percent by value of Bulgaria's total imports receive column 2 treatment.

Tariffs range between 5 percent and 40 percent on industrial products and 5 percent and 70 percent for agricultural products. Beginning of 2005 the import tariffs on grain distillates, HS group 2208 have been reduced to 0% (for bulk only 2 liters or more); of the industrial spirits, oil, lubricants, kerosene jet fuel and waste oil of HS groups 2710.11 and 2710.19 have been reduced by 4.3%; of HS group 2711.12 and 13, 14, 19, 29 have been reduced by 3.6%. Tariff reductions have been introduced on some meat products from HS groups 0203.29, 0206.49; 0504.00 and 0511.10.

In March 1993, Bulgaria signed an Association Agreement with the European Union under which the EU and Bulgaria will eliminate tariffs asymmetrically over a 10-year period with the EU reducing tariffs at an accelerated rate. Agricultural concessions are applied on a reciprocal basis. The Europe Agreement is also calling for the harmonization of Bulgaria's laws and institutions with those of the European Union in preparation for full membership. Already, Bulgaria is taking into consideration the requirements of EU directives in drafting new legislation.

In July 1993, Bulgaria joined the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA). The provisions of the EFTA Agreement mirror those of Bulgaria's Association Agreement with the European Union. Since then, the majority of EFTA member countries have opted to join the EU. Bulgaria joined the World Trade Organizations in December 1996.

Bulgaria 3/4/2005 joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) in January 1999. A free trade agreement between Bulgaria and Turkey took effect in January 1999. Bulgaria has signed and enforced Free Trade Agreements with: Turkey (1999); FYROM (signed in 1999); Estonia (2002); Lithuania (2002); Israel (2002); Croatia (2002). Text of the agreements can be found at www.mi.government.bg/trade/regional

Products imported from the European Union with a Form EUR 1 certificate are subject to reduced customs duties or are exempt entirely in accordance with Bulgaria's European Union association agreement.


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