Trade barriers continue between Kosovo and Serbia

Trade barriers continue between Kosovo and Serbia

Pristina, 28 March 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade has not brought any concrete results in lifting trade barriers between the two countries.

Since 2008, Serb authorities applied fiscal and technical barriers for producers or importers from Kosovo. Meanwhile, Kosovo has never applied the same measures, besides the last decision taken by the ministry of Trade and Industry for mutual measures against Serbia in the domain of the transport of oil and gas.

This situation has sparked the reaction of the Serb prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, who has reported the problem in question to European senior officials in Brussels.

“As far as this issue is concerned, we are in constant talks with Brussels. I don’t want to make this problem any bigger than it is, but I believe that in the near future, we will be able to remove these barriers”, the Serb PM said.

After these declarations, the government’s spokesman, Arban Abrashi, declared that the Serb authorities must recognize Kosovo’s certificates before talking about the removal of reciprocity measures.

According to him, this issue can be solved through dialogue while calling on Serbia not to prevent the free circulation of goods and people.

“We have demanded from Serb authorities to take all necessary measures in order to remove all trade barriers, but there has been no positive reply. We have even raised this issue with CEFTA and Brussels”, he said.

The decision for reciprocity has also been welcomed by the business community in Kosovo.

The head of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, Agim Shahini declared that businesses in Kosovo are constantly facing commercial barriers by Serbia.

“Every time Kosovo has taken reciprocity measures against Serbia, this has had positive effects for the economy and business in Kosovo. We back this decision of the Ministry of Trade and Industry”, Shahini said.

In 2008, immediately after the proclamation of Kosovo independence, for three times in a row, Serbia has not allowed Kosovo products to enter its market.

Besides the CEFTA agreement, Serbia hasn’t even respected any other economic agreements which have been reached in the talks between Pristina and Belgrade in Brussels.  /ibna/