In support of its successful efforts to gain accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Montenegro implemented significant trade policy reforms, bringing the country’s practices in compliance with WTO and EU requirements. Reforms have included the reduction of import quotas, licensing requirements and prohibitions, streamlining customs procedures, and a reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers. Montenegro became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2011.
The 2003 Customs Law simplifies import-export procedures and is in line with WTO and EU requirements. The customs territory of Montenegro comprises the territory of Montenegro, including its territorial waters, inland maritime waters, and its airspace. Goods enter and/or leave the customs territory through border crossings. There is a customs inspection point at Porto Montenegro, a coastal tourism and boating facility in Tivat to facilitate visa and goods checks for the new tourism complexes built there.
Customs “goods” mean: (i) any good introduced into the customs territory that has not been released for free circulation and(ii)any good declared for export from the customs territory. Duties on goods imported in to the customs territory are based on the Law on Custom Tariffs and on rules laid down in the law. All goods that are brought into or taken out of the customs territory must be declared to the customs office at the border, or to other competent custom offices. Any person importing or exporting goods may request information concerning the application of custom rules from the custom authorities without being charged.
Montenegro’s Foreign Trade Law decreases the barriers for doing business and executing foreign trade transactions in accordance with WTO Agreements. However, the law still provides for some restrictive measures, such as quotas, and discretionary government intervention in a small number of areas.
These laws also provide the government with the authority to implement temporary measures to regulate trade. In almost all cases the government has phased-out quantitative restrictions although certain goods require a license from the government. New laws are being promulgated to improve the custom and trade regimes.
Montenegro has a small but open economy that is generally based on free trade. Trade policy is characterized by a low level of custom duties and the absence of non-tariff trade barriers. The tariff system is prescribed by the Law on Customs Tariffs.Tariffs average 5.1percent, but range from zero to 30percent. Customs tariffs are not calculated on exported goods. Montenegro is a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement(CEFTA).
Import duties are set by the customs tariff, as an integral part of the Customs Tariff Law, which is fully based on terms harmonized with EU legislation. The value of goods, which serves as the customs assessment base, is the contract price. Customs Law, however, discusses general procedures applicable to the trading of goods.
Raw materials, especially aluminum, are the dominant Montenegrin export while imports, which far outstrip exports, have no single dominant item. Major categories of imports include: cosmetics, personal hygiene products, food stuffs, and clothing.
According to 2019 data from the Montenegrin Statistical Office (Monstat), foreign trade exchange was EUR 3,016 billion. The value of overall exported and imported goods in 2019 was EUR 415.5 million and EUR 2.6 billion, respectively. Montenegro’s most important export partners were Serbia (EUR 107.9 million), Hungary (EUR 45 million) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUR 29.8 million), with imports mainly coming from Serbia (EUR 500.4 million), Germany (EUR 244.2 million) and China (EUR 221.9 million).
Import Requirements and Documentation
Montenegro uses a fairly standard import/export documentation process (generally requiring bill-of-landing and related sales documents). With the liberalization of the trade regime and reform of the trade/custom-related institutions, Montenegro is moving toward harmonizing its import documentation with the EU.
Forthemostpart,import-licensing regimes were dismantled beginning in 1999. However,import licenses are required for arms/ammunition, military and police equipment, antiquities, works of art, precious metals, waste, and substances harmful to the ozone layer. According to government officials, it is not difficult to obtain a license and, in all successful cases, licenses are issued in less than 30 days and may be used for multiple shipments during the period of validity.
Labeling and Marking Requirements
Labels must contain the following: title of the product, full address of the producer or full address of the importer, net quantity/weight/volume, ingredients, manner of storage (transport, use of maintenance) and pertinent consumer warnings. Technically complicated products must be accompanied by instructions on usage, the manufacturer’s specifications, and a list of authorized maintenance offices, warranty information, warranty period and other applicable data.