Free trade zones in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia/ February 2013

Free trade zones are part of the customs territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) managed by the founder of the free zone.

The users of free zones do not pay taxes and contributions, with the exception of those related to salaries and wages. Investors are free to invest capital in the free zone, transfer their profit and re-transfer capital with no charge.

Customs and tariffs are not paid on imports into the free zone. The imports of equipment that will be used for manufacturing within the free zone are exempt from paying customs duties and fees.

Relevant customs authorities can issue EUR 1 – certificate of origin for the goods produced in free zones.

Each free zone has the status of legal entity and it acquires legal capacity and the capacity to exercise rights upon registration in accordance with the Act on Establishing Free Zones in the Court Register.

Free zone founders can be one or more domestic or foreign legal and natural persons. While users of free zone can be the founder of free zone or any other legal and natural persons. Users of free zone do business in the area of free zone under special conditions in accordance with the Law on Customs Policy of BiH and the Law on Free Zones of BIH, on the basis of concluded contracts with the founder of free zone, with prior approval of the customs authorities.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations shall institute the procedure for the adoption of decision of the Council of Ministers on designation of parts of the customs area of BiH as a free zone if it is economically justified and if the requirements for establishment of a free zone set out in the Law on Free Zones of BIH and Law on Customs Policy of BiH have been met.

For instance if, on the basis of the submitted feasibility study on justification of the establishment of the free zone and other evidence, it can be assessed that the value of goods exported from a free zone will exceed at least 50% of the total value of manufactured goods leaving the free zone within a period of 12 months. A free zone can start work when a decision that all requirements for the beginning of the free zone operation have been met, and no later than 24 months from the date of adoption of the decision.

The founder of a free zone shall enact a rulebook on requirements for doing business in the free zone within 30 days of establishment of the free zone. The rulebook shall govern the following: Working hours, the movement of persons and goods traffic in the area, the obligations of the founder to ensure space, technical and organisational conditions for the use of free zone, safety at work measures and measures for the protection of environment, rights and duties of users in relation to the founder of free zone. The founder of free zone shall send the rulebook to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and customs inspection authorities within 30 days of establishment of the free zone.

The free zone work permit can be cancelled if the founder or the user does not respect the regulation prescribed by the Law.

In case of termination of work in free zones, the user retains property claims upon things, rights and money which he had imported, that is to say brought into the zone. The user also has the right to continue with business activities outside the zone, in accordance with relevant legislation.

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