E
Within the framework of the Enlargement Strategy, the European Commission is strengthening its support to improve economic governance and competitiveness in candidate and potential candidate countries – especially in the Western Balkans. In this context, and in close cooperation with DG NEAR, and the EUD in the Western Balkans, the global objective of the EU funded project, “Study on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the Western Balkans”, was to assess the impact of the SEZs on the local economy of the six Western Balkans economies and to assess their conformity with the evolving EU norms and standards as well as those of the OECD. In order to do so, AETS’ team has: (1) assessed the impact of the SEZs on economic development, in particular through the evolution of exports, production, employment, tax receipts, etc. (2) assessed the level of the various tax and tax-related attraction factors (tax rates, social security contributions, para-fiscal charges, etc...) and their impact on the attractiveness of the region. (3) compared the SEZs practices with the EU 'acquis' in relation to the customs code and provisions on state aids regulated by the bilateral agreements between the EU and each of the partner countries; and assess the conformity of SEZs with the norms and standards developed by the OECD on tax matters. The project was implemented until October 2017.

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