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									                          Southeast European National Committees for the Facilitation of
SECI                   Procedures and Practices in Administration, Commerce and Transport

                  Inaugural Meeting – Sofia, 15 September 1998, 15:00
                 BULPRO, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry


        The meeting opened with welcoming remarks from Mr. Bojidar Bojinov, President
of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), which hosted this meeting.
Dr. Erhard Busek, the SECI Coordinator, had to leave Sofia early to give a special briefing
on SECI in Moscow and requested Mr. Will Keenan, UN/ECE Regional Advisor, to chair
the meeting. Mr. Bojinov noted that the agenda of meeting (Annex I) had, in fact, already
begun earlier in the morning at the forum, organised by the Business Advisory Council to
SECI. Bulgaria has a strategic interest to overcome the various obstacles to regional trade
and transport

        The Forum, held at the Council of Ministers, was opened by Bulgarian Deputy Prime
Minister Evgenii Bakardjiev and chaired by Dr. Busek. The theme of the Forum was the
organisation and objectives of national PRO Committees. Thus the agenda of the Forum
and this meeting of SECI PRO Committees became easily intertwined. Professor Yiannis
Maniatis, Special Secretary, Greek Ministry of Transport and Communications, and
chairman of the SECI Border Crossing Project Group, presented his overview of ―Issues,
Conclusions and Recommendations‖ from the project. A summary of Professor Maniatis’
presentation is included as Annex III.

        US Ambassador Richard Schifter, originator of SECI, addressed the participants
during the luncheon hosted by BCCI before the meeting. Ambassador Schifter emphasised
the key role that the PRO Committees can play in ensuring the implementation of the
procedural reforms required at border crossings, as well as the further improvements in
regional transport policy envisaged by the Memorandum of Understanding being drafted in
Phase II of the Border Crossing Facilitation project group. He outlined a vision for
SECIPRO whereby it could provide traders with a channel to raise problems that they
experience in other SECI countries. The national PRO Committee could use the SECIPRO
framework to bring these issues to the attention of their counterpart in the other countries.

       This meeting continued with introductions by the several participants. A list of is
included as Annex II. Participating were BULPRO (Bulgaria), CroatiaPRO (Croatia),
HellasPRO (Greece), ROMPRO (Romania), MAKPRO (The former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia), and TURKPRO (Turkey). Bosnia and Herzegovina was represented by the
Chamber of Economy, which is studying the proposal to establish a PRO Committee in their

        Apologies were received from ALBAPRO, which was unable to travel to Sofia due
to the disturbances in Tirana. Albania emphasised its support for SECIPRO and interest to
cooperate with other PRO Committees to improve economic development in the SECI
region. The only other SECI Participating Countries not attending were Hungary and
Moldova. A meeting was scheduled for 23 September in Budapest to review the prospects
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for reviving HUNPRO, which ceased operations in 1997. Moldova informed the SECI
Coordinator that they are reviewing the possibility to establish a national PRO Committee.

Ambassador H. Kenneth Hill reported on the visits that he and Mr. Glenn Levine had been
making to the SECI Participating Countries in support of the formation of national PRO
Committees. He thanked the different countries for the full cooperation that they had been
receiving and concluded that the response to the PRO Committee concept was very positive
everywhere they had been.

SECIPRO – the association

The participants unanimously accepted the proposal of the SECI Business Advisory Council
(BAC) to establish SECIPRO as an association of the participating PRO Committees.
TURKPRO viewed the SECIPRO proposal as a vehicle to create a dialog among countries
in the region who will benefit from increased intra-regional trade

In recognition of the interest and support demonstrated by the Business Advisory Council in
national facilitation activities, SECIPRO meetings will initially be scheduled in conjunction
with the quarterly meeting of the Business Advisory Council. The next BAC meeting will
be held in Skopje in December. Mr. Jani Bogoevski, Undersecretary of the Ministry of
Economy for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, accepted on behalf of MAKPRO
to organise this meeting and extended an invitation to the SECIPRO participants.

MAKPRO endorsed the SECIPRO framework. At the same time, they posed a couple of
issues that other SECIPRO members should consider when developing more detailed
proposals for SECIPRO’s mission. For example, should every participating body in a
national PRO Committee also be able to participate directly in SECIPRO? Where should
the secretariat of SECIPRO be located? How should SECIPRO be funded?

HellasPRO recalled that several of the PRO Committees have just been formed, or are in the
process of being established. There was no reason to hurry and take decisions concerning
the SECIPRO association. The participants need to obtain more information that can be
discussed in greater detail at the next meeting in Skopje.

TURKPRO agreed that it is more important now to define what should be mission of
SECIPRO be. Different countries have different visions and expectations of what a
SECIPRO association should do. These differing expectations have correspondingly
different views about the secretariat or structural support that SECIPRO requires.

Following the proposal of HellasPRO, the meeting agreed that SECIPRO will initially be
chaired by the SECI Coordinator, Dr. Busek, with administrative support provided by the
UN/ECE. As the future functions of SECIPRO are defined jointly by the participating PRO
Committees, an appropriate structure will be developed. Each country will summit its
views of the mission of SECIPRO and specific proposals before the next meeting in Skopje.

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Communication channels

Accepting the request to provide administrative support, the UN/ECE proposed to create a
e-mail list for SECIPRO, as well as a site on the World Wide Web. The mail list will be
operated with the support of the International Telecommunications Union and will have the

All messages sent to this address will automatically be forwarded to all subscribers on the
list. Participants at this meeting will automatically be added to the list. Newcomers who
wish to join the list later can do so by sending an e-mail message to with
the following text in the body of the message: subscribe secipro.

Recognising that not all SECIPRO participants have access to Internet e-mail, especially
government agencies where Internet access is restricted for data security reasons, the
UN/ECE offered to assist in identifying alternative locations that would be willing to act as
relays. Alternatively, the UN/ECE will fax all postings to the SECIPRO mail list to those
participants that cannot be reached via e-mail.

The SECIPRO World Wide Web site can be reached at:


The content of this WWW site will be determined by the SECIPRO participants. The
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already expressed interest to become a
―mirror site‖ for this information. Other countries interesting in making similar
arrangements to improve ease of access are encouraged to contact the UN/ECE.

Single Administrative Document (SAD)

Both HellasPRO and ROMPRO referred to one of the original recommendations of the
SECI Border Crossing Facilitation project group to harmonise the implementation of the
European Union’s Single Administrative Document (SAD) in the SECI region. Apart from
Greece, which is already an EU member, almost all SECI countries have introduced the
concept of a single form for export/import declarations based on the SAD. To be fully
beneficial, the SAD should eliminate other forms required by the various government
agencies concerned with border crossing operations.

As explained by the European Commission’s delegates to the SECI Border Crossing
Facilitation project group, who came from DG.XXI—the Customs and Indirect Taxation
Directorate, the European directive only specifies how about half of the boxes on the SAD
should be completed. The other boxes are optional and left to the discretion of the
individual countries.

Because SECI countries carried out this activity independently, different countries have used

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the ―optional‖ boxes differently. Thus, an export declaration from Turkey cannot be used
as the import declaration to Bulgaria. The objective of the SAD harmonisation project will
be work towards a common implementation of the SAD that, while being 100% in line with
EU requirements, simplifies trade documentation among the SECI countries not yet EU

BULPRO made available to participants at this meeting copies of the forms that it had
developed to adapt the SAD to Bulgarian requirements. They emphasised the point that in
trade facilitation activities, an underlying principle was not to reinvent wheels. By
developing a common implementation of the SAD in the SECI region, there was an
excellent opportunity through the UN system to extend these more comprehensive
guidelines to other countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

ROMPRO volunteered to take the lead in this area, based upon their work to define the
requirements of the SAD for the corresponding electronic equivalent under UN/EDIFACT.
UN/EDIFACT is the international standard set of rules defining the computer-to-computer
exchange of data. The SAD will eventually be replaced by the SAM—Single
Administrative Message, the electronic equivalent of the paper-based SAD. While almost
all SECI countries have automated their Customs administration, most traders still rely on
paper-based information exchange.

The SAD is based on the UN Layout Key, which uses the same data definitions as
UN/EDIFACT. Work done to harmonise the paper SAD document today should be
applicable to the future electronic SAM. Further details on the ROMPRO proposal will be
disseminated via the SECIPRO mail list and WWW site.

Cooperation with other PRO associations

Mr. Keenan explained that EUROPRO, the association of European Union and EFTA
national trade facilitation bodies, was unable to send a representative to this first SECIPRO
meeting because it conflicted with the Geneva meeting of UN/CEFACT, the United Nations
Centre for the Simplification of Procedures and Practices in Administration, Commerce and

BULPRO also cited the good cooperation received in the past from the EFTA (European
Free Trade Association) countries to develop a series of booklets on international trade
practices and procedures. The EFTA countries are currently preparing a CD-ROM with the
contents of these booklets, as well as additional information, and they should be available to
SECPRO participants in the next couple of months.

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Ideas for future discussion

Several suggestions were tabled for future consideration by the national PRO Committees
for activities that could be undertaken by SECIPRO, including:

          Development of ―International Trade Transaction Frameworks.‖ This activity consists
           of developing a graphic representation, or flowchart, of the various steps involved in
           import and export transactions. Such a representation helps to illustrate the various
           actors involved in an international transaction and can help in the identification of
           bottlenecks in the process. ROMPRO and Hungary have been active in this activity
           within UN/CEFACT. Some additional information is available on the Internet at:

          Formulation of a ―trade facilitation index‖ to measure the relative position of different
           countries in terms of their efforts to simplify international trade and transport
           procedures. Developing such an index can help in prioritising elements of national
           policy and procedures that impact a countries ―facilitation profile.‖ Such an index
           could also help focus public attention on areas where progress has been made or where
           work remains to be done.

The participants concluded by expressing their appreciation to the Bulgarian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry for their hospitality in organising the lunch and arranging the
meeting facilities.

The next meeting will be held in Skopje on 3 December 1998. The exact location and
agenda will be sent to the participants in mid-October.

The meeting adjourned at 17:00

                                                Annex I

                                                                    Southeast European


                             Inaugural Meeting of the
         Southeast European National Committees for the Simplification of
       Procedures and Practices in Administration, Commerce and Transport
                                        15 September 1998, 15:00

Venue: Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce
       and Industry                                          Tel: +359-2 987 7826 or 2631
       42, Parchevich Street                                 Fax: +359-2 987 3209
       1000 Sofia, Bulgaria


1.   Welcome address
     – Mr. Bojidar Bojinov, President, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

2.   Overview of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI)
     – Dr. E. Busek, SECI Coordinator
     – Ambassador R. Schifter, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State

3.   Issues, conclusions and recommendations from the SECI project, ―Border Crossing Facilitation‖
     – Professor I. Maniatis, Special Secretary, Greek Ministry of Transport and
        Communications; Chairman of the SECI Border Crossing project group

4.   The role of trade facilitation and PRO Committees in Southeast Europe
     – Mr. W. Keenan, Regional Advisor, UN Economic Commission for Europe

5.   Report from the field review of the implementation of the SECI Border Crossing Facilitation
     project group’s recommendations
     – Ambassador H. K. Hill and Mr. G. Levine, SECI Project Office, Washington, D.C.

6.   Presentation of the objectives, structure, membership and activities of the SECI region national
     PRO Committees
     – Representatives of the SECI national PRO Committees

7.   Discussion of similarities and differences between the action priorities identified by the Border
     Crossing project group and those of the national PRO Committee

8.   Consideration of proposals to establish an association of PRO Committees in the SECI region

                                               Annex I - 1
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9.           Other business

                                                                                                                                    Annex II

                                                                                                SECIPRO MEETING PARTICIPANTS

Country                                                                              Name & address`                                                                                                  Contact numbers


Albania                                                                              – Apologies received from AlbaPRO. Local contacts:

                                                                                     Teri POJANI                                                                                                      Tel: +355-42 620 89 x. 133
                                                                                     Director, Economic Cooperation                                                                                   Fax: +355-42 620 84 / 620 85
                                                                                     Ministry of Foreign Affairs                                                                                      E-mail:

                                                                                     Vebi VELIJA                                                                                                      Tel: +355-42 27684, 35056
                                                                                     President, Union of Investors in                                                                                 Fax: +355-42 35060-1
                                                                                     Veve Business Centre
                                                                                     Blvd "Deshmuret E Kombit"

Bosnia and Herzegovina                                                               Ms. Tatjana ZAK                                                                                                  Tel: +71 667 941
                                                                                     Chief of Trade Department                                                                                        Fax: +71 663 632
                                                                                     Chamber of Economy of Bosnia
                                                                                     and Herzegovina

Bulgaria                                                                             Mr. Borislav GEORGIEV                                                                                            Tel: +359-2 981 3692
                                                                                     BULPRO – BCCI                                                                                                    Fax: +359-2 987 3209
                                                                                     42, Pazchovich                                                                                                   E-mail:
                                                                                     1000 Sofia

                                                                                     Angel PARVOULOV                                                                                                  Tel: +359-2 980 7675
                                                                                     Deputy General Director                                                                                          Fax: +359-2 981 2713
                                                                                     General Customs Directorate

                                                                                                                                  Annex II - 2
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                                                                                     Ministry of Finance
                                                                                     1 Aksanov Str
                                                                                     1070 Sofia

                                                                                     Mr. Nikolay BABEV                                                                                                Tel: +359-2 987 1124
                                                                                     Director, Bulgarian Chamber of                                                                                   Fax: +359-2 987 3209
                                                                                     Commerce and Industry                                                                                            E-mail:
                                                                                     42 Pazchevich
                                                                                     1000 Sofia
Bulgaria (continued)                                                                 Mr. Vassil GIUEORGUIEV                                                                                           Tel: +359-2 95 81 628
                                                                                     Director                                                                                                         Fax: +359-2 95 81 259
                                                                                     Association of Bulgarian                                                                                         E-mail:
                                                                                     Enterprises for International Road
                                                                                     Transport and Roads – AEBTRI
                                                                                     6 Iskarski prolom str.
                                                                                     1680 Sofia

                                                                                     Mr. Nikolay KOSTOV                                                                                               Tel: +359-2 980 5069
                                                                                     Vice Director                                                                                                    Fax: +359-2 980 5869
                                                                                     Bulgarian Export Promotion                                                                                       E-mail:
                                                                                     Ministry of Trade & Tourism
                                                                                     1 Sveta Nedelia Sq.
                                                                                     1000 Sofia

                                                                                     Mr. Arto TCHIRAKIAN                                                                                              Tel: +359-2 986 0912
                                                                                     Expert                                                                                                           Fax: +359-2 981 5039
                                                                                     Dept. ―South-East Europe‖
                                                                                     Ministry of Trade & Tourism
                                                                                     12, Knjaz Ar. Batenberg St.
                                                                                     1000 Sofia

Croatia                                                                              Mr. Ruder FRIGANOVIC                                                                                             Tel: +385-1 4561 624
                                                                                     Director, Croatian Chamber of                                                                                    Fax: +385-1 4828 499
                                                                                     Economy – Trade Department                                                                                       E-mail:
                                                                                     Roosevectov Trg 2
                                                                                     HR-10000 Zagreb

                                                                                     Mr. Zlatan FROHLICH                                                                                              Tel: +385-1 4561 511
                                                                                     Croatian Chamber of Economy                                                                                      Fax: +385-1 4561 540
                                                                                     Roosevectov Trg 2                                                                                                E-mail:
                                                                                     HR-10000 Zagreb

                                                                                     Ms. Dunja JENAU                                                                                                  Tel: +385-1 5 69 918
                                                                                     Head of Dept. for Economic                                                                                       Fax: +385-1 45 41 795

                                                                                                                                  Annex II - 2
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                                                                                     Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Greece                                                                               Mr. Nikos EFTHYMIADIS                                                                                            Tel: +30-31 798 226
                                                                                     P.O. Box 48                                                                                                      Fax: +30-31 796 620
                                                                                     57022 Sindos – Thessaloniki

Greece (continued)                                                                   Yiannis MANIATIS                                                                                                 Tel: +30-1 324 9596, 7
                                                                                     Special State Secretary                                                                                          Fax: +30-1 324 8190
                                                                                     Ministry of Transport &
                                                                                     13, Xenophontos str.
                                                                                     101 91 Athens

                                                                                     Mr. Vassili TAKAS                                                                                                Tel: +30-31 554 684
                                                                                     Federation of Industries of                                                                                      Fax: +30-31 541 933
                                                                                     Northern Greece
                                                                                     Mozihovou Square
                                                                                     57022 Thessaloniki

Romania                                                                              Mr. Maximilian VODISLAV                                                                                          Tel: +40-1 336 7798
                                                                                     ROMPRO                                                                                                           Fax: +40-1 311 1491
                                                                                     Romanian Foreign Trade Centre                                                                                    E-mail:
                                                                                     17, Apollodor St.
                                                                                      70661 Bucharest, Sect. 6

Slovenia                                                                             Mr. Peter CERAR                                                                                                  Tel: +386-61 1891 800
                                                                                     SloveniaPRO                                                                                                      Fax: +386-61 1891 801
                                                                                     Dunahska 160                                                                                                     E-mail:

The former Yugoslav                                                                  Mr. Jani BOGOEVSKI                                                                                               Tel: +389-91 127 059
Republic of Macedonia                                                                Undersecretary                                                                                                   Fax: +389-91 127 083
                                                                                     Ministry of Economy                                                                                              E-mail:
                                                                                     91000 Skopje

                                                                                     Ms. Ljiljana MITOVSKA                                                                                            Tel: +389-91 115 153
                                                                                     Directorate for Regional Initiative                                                                              Fax: +389-91 115 790
                                                                                     Ministry of Foreign Affairs

                                                                                                                                  Annex II - 3
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                                                                                     91000 Skopje

                                                                                     Ms. Dragica NIKIFOROVIC                                                                                          Tel: +389-91 145 444
                                                                                     Ministry of Transport & Comm.                                                                                    Fax: +389-91 230 877
                                                                                     Plostad Cruena Skopska Opstina br 4
                                                                                     91000 Skopje

Turkey                                                                               Muhtar KENT                                                                                                      Tel: +90-216 4927415
                                                                                     Tophaneli Oglu Cad. No. 70                                                                                       Fax: +90-216 4927416
                                                                                     Altunizade-Istanbul                                                                                              E-mail:

                                                                                     Çelik ARSEL                                                                                                      Tel: +90-212 288 1468
                                                                                     Koç Holding A.S.                                                                                                 Fax: +90-212 288 1345
                                                                                     Aygaz A.S.                                                                                                       E-mail:
                                                                                     Büyükdere Cad. 145/1 Kat 9
                                                                                     80300 Zincirlikuyu-Istanbul


United States of America H.E. Mr. H. Kenneth HILL                                                                                                                                                     Tel: +1-202 662 1957
                         SECI Project Advisor                                                                                                                                                         Fax: +1-202 662 1597
                         ABA – CEELI
                         Washington, D.C. 20005

                                                                                     Mr. Glenn LEVINE                                                                                                 Tel: +1-202 662 1957
                                                                                     SECI Project Advisor                                                                                             Fax: +1-202 662 1597
                                                                                     ABA – CEELI                                                                                                      E-mail:
                                                                                     Washington, D.C. 20005

                                                                                     Mr. Richard KANTER                                                                                               Tel: +359-2 963 2014
                                                                                     Commercial Attache                                                                                               Fax: +359-2 980 6850
                                                                                     US Embassy                                                                                                       E-mail:

UN Economic                                                                          Mr. Will KEENAN                                                                                                  Tel: +41-22 917 2793
Commission for Europe                                                                Regional Advisor                                                                                                 Fax: +41-22 917 0037
                                                                                     Palais des Nations, Rm 448                                                                                       E-mail:
                                                                                     1211 Geneva 10

                                                                                                                                  Annex II - 4
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                                                                                                                                         Annex III

                                                          Framework Briefing Note on SECI Developments
                                                                        Professor Yiannis Maniatis
                                                        Chairman, SECI Project Group on Border Crossing Facilitation


SECI, under the aegis of the United States of America and with the support of the UN Economic
Commission for Europe (UN/ECE), aims at strengthening cooperation and economic development
in Southeast Europe. Eleven countries in the region are participating, with the exception of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

SECI focuses on:

 1. Identification of problems of an economic nature that negatively influence relations of several
    countries in the region

 2. Creation of project groups to tackle such problems

 3. Necessary actions to realise the proposed project

In this context, the role of the Agenda Committee, SECI’s governing body composed of high level
representatives from the Participating States, and the project ―host countries‖ is decisive. Greece
actively supports the initiative and promotes it through basic elements of its national policy towards
the region. Greece hosts the Project Group on Border Crossing Facilitation and participates
actively in all project groups hosted by other countries.

Border Crossing Facilitation – Phase I

This project group was set up with a mandate to investigate and address problems influencing the
proper functioning of the international transport system and operation of the different parties
involved in border crossing operations (i.e. transporters, Customs, border police, phytosanitary
inspectors, etc.) The project group focused on:

1. Simplification of administrative documents and relevant procedures when transiting border
   crossing points.

2. Improvement to the physical infrastructure of border crossing stations and their surrounding
                                                                                                                                       Annex III - 1
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    SECIPRO                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               15 September 1998

3. Training of personnel posted at border crossing stations.

Following four meetings, the project group completed its work with the adoption of
recommendations to the SECI Agenda Committee concerning the areas where action seems

1. Development of a regional cooperation programme for the promotion of trade and the
   facilitation of transit in the area under the aegis of UN/ECE.

2. Identification of the roles that different organisations are called upon to play in this context.

3. Establishment of national PRO Committees for trade, transport and Customs facilitation.

4. Harmonisation of certain technical norms, such as maximum permissible weights and
   dimensions of vehicles.

5. Abolition of special charges for those parts of the E-Road network where maximum permissible
   weights and dimensions are compatible to those of the European Community.

6. Adoption of a SECI weight certificate acceptable by all SECI countries.

7. Establishment of a database providing information to road users on the different types and
   amounts of charges they are asked to pay for operating in SECI countries.

8. Issuance of multiple entry visas for professional drivers of certified international transport
   companies, without prejudice to the provision of the Schengen Agreement.

9. Setting up of a Regional Road Transport Committee to monitor the application of a
   memorandum of understanding to be signed by the Participating Countries and eventually the
   elaboration of a SECI Multilateral Road Transport Agreement.

                                                                                                                                       Annex III - 2

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