Following Kosovo`s declaration of independence on 17 February 2008, UNMIK continued to take Kosovo`s place at all CEFTA meetings. At the end of 2008, Kosovo changed its customs marks and replaced a MIMIK with Kosovo. The result has been a trade blockade of Serbia and Bosnia, which the Republic of Kosovo does not recognize.  The Pristina government has done the same by blocking its own imports from Serbia. This led to clashes at border crossings in July 2011.  On 19 December 2006, the Central European Free Trade Agreement in Bucharest, chaired by Romania, was extensively amended and its accession was extended to create CEFTA in 2006, a modern and ambitious free trade agreement with six new parts of South-Eastern Europe. As soon as a participating country joins the European Union (EU), its accession to CEFTA ends. Since 1 July 2013, the contracting parties to CEFTA are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo. On the RECOMMENDATION of the EU, future members were preparing to become members by creating free trade areas. Much of CEFTA`s external trade is linked to EU countries.
All parties to the original agreement had now joined the EU, leaving CEFTA. It was therefore decided to extend CEFTA to the rest of the Balkan countries that had already concluded a matrix of bilateral free trade agreements under the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. On 6 April 2006, at the Summit of South-Eastern European Prime Ministers held in Bucharest, a joint declaration on the extension of CEFTA to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro and UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo) was adopted.  Ukraine`s accession was also discussed.  The new enlarged agreement was initialled in Brussels on 9 November 2006 and signed on 19 December 2006 at the Summit of South-East European Prime Ministers in Bucharest.  The Agreement entered into force on 26 July 2007 for Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro and North Macedonia, on 22 August for Croatia, on 24 October for Serbia and on 22 November 2007 for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The objective of the agreement was to create a free trade area in the region by 31 December 2010. The latter CEFTA is a modern and comprehensive regional free trade agreement, conceived as an integral part of the parties` pre-accession agenda and, where appropriate, in line with their WTO obligations. It provides a strong legal basis for policy formulation and implementation in key areas related to trade and investment. All the former participating countries had already signed association agreements with the EU, so CEFTA effectively served as preparation for full membership of the European Union. Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the EU on 1 May 2004, followed by Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2007. Several studies and benchmarks, which measure traders` perception of administrative barriers to trade, provide information on the enabling environment for trade facilitation in the CEFTA region.
For example, the World Bank`s “Trading Across Borders” indicators indicate that CEFTA parties perform better than other economies in transition in terms of time and costs related to the logistics process of exporting and importing goods. . . .