Lack of standards blocks products from Kosovo

Lack of standards blocks products from Kosovo

Pristina, 1 August 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Kosovo’s economy continues to be non functional and uncompetitive in front of producers of the region and EU member countries.

In the absence of standards and state subsidies, Kosovo’s products cannot manage to penetrate in the domestic market, let alone regional and international markets.

Under these circumstances, Kosovo continues to face a high trade deficit.

According to official figures, the total value of imports in Kosovo in 2015 was 2,6 billion euros, representing an annual growth of 3,8%.

Meanwhile, the value of exports from Kosovo to different European and world countries was 325,3 million euros, which represents a weak rise of 0,2%.

The head of the Association of the Exporters of Kosovo, Nexhat Hasani says that the problems that exporters face are different and they depend on the production activity.

According to him, manufacturers themselves do not have a lot of knowledge about the criteria and standards required by the European Union.

“In terms of food produces, especially products of animal origins, the origin of production is not known. The EU member countries do not recognize those certificates, thus exports can take place in the countries of the region, but not in the EU member countries”.

He says that the problem here is the certification and standardization of Kosovo’s products in line with European directives.

“We have problems with certification, with the definition of the standards and the criteria and quality that domestic producers must meet. Alongside this, we don’t know markets very well”, Hasani says.

Professor of European law, Bardhyl Hasanpapaj told IBNA that in order to increase exports, more should be invested in entrepreneurship in order to face competition coming from regional and European markets.

“Kosovo’s enterprises, especially manufacturing ones, must work more in order to boost entrepreneurial capacities and innovation. These objectives cannot be attained without the  aid of the institutions of Kosovo and EU structural funds”, he says.

According to him, Kosovo’s manufacturers have difficulties in obtaining loans, especially for the early stages of development.

“Their restricted sources reduce their access in new technologies and innovation. This way, we cannot be competitive, especially after signing SAA, which liberalizes trade with the EU member countries”, he says.

Kosovo’s manufacturers constantly call on institutions of the country to create favorable tax policies with the aim of boosting export. /