Domestic and Foreign Market Access

The Republic of Moldova is classified as a lower middle income country that is approaching middle-income status, based on its growth rate of close to, on average, seven per cent in recent years. The country has maintained an advanced, liberal trade regime since the early 1990s. The state monopoly on trade was quickly abolished after the disintegration of the Soviet Block and prices were widely liberalized quickly thereafter. After accession to the WTO in 2001, Moldova has reoriented its economy towards an export strategy. The country was ranked 76th out of 132 countries in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Enabling Trade Index (2012). Although the country has comparably open market access and a market-oriented economy, a negative business climate and weak institutional framework hinder the country’s potential for stronger trade performance.

WEF, 2012, Global Enabling Trade Report

Source : World Economic Forum, Global Enabling Trade Report 2014

Trade Policy and Market Access

Since joining the WTO in 2001, the country has accepted a fairly liberal trade regime which is well-recognised for being very open to imports which also extend to strong access to foreign markets. Moldova applies the low tariff of 2.5 per cent and face low tariff in destination markets. However, the country has some tariff lines with high tariffs (tariff peaks), particularly in the products of sugars and confectionery and animal products. Moldova has signed free trade agreements with countries of the former Soviet Union. In December 2006, Moldova joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement, whilst the EU market is the country's largest export destination, usually accounting for slightly less than a half of all Moldovan exports. In 2008, Moldova changed its trade relationship with the EU from the extended generalized system of preferences (GSP-plus) to autonomous trade preferences, which expanded Moldovan duty-free access to EU markets. These autonomous trade preferences were extended from 2012 to 2015. To deepen its preferential trade arrangements with the EU, Moldova began negotiating a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement (DCFTA) in 2012.

United Nations Development Program, 2011, Aid for Trade Needs Assessment for the Republic of Moldova

Standard Compliance and Other Relevant Import/Export Restrictions

Despite the ongoing effort to conclude the DCFTA, and the heavy proportion of the EU market for export, Moldovan products still have difficulty in market access due to different standards and incompetent institutions. For example, the country has full set of legislations and institutions related to phytosanitary and veterinary controls, technical regulation, standards, conformity assessment and market surveillance; however, these legislation, institutions and practices are not coherent with that used in the EU. Also, the high cost of laboratory test for certification purpose reduces the competitiveness in the export of agricultural goods. Besides the fees for laboratory tests, the fees for certification can go as high as USD 500. Considering the number of certifications that various contracts require for the export, these costs quickly increase.

Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2012, Country Report (Moldova)