The Kosovo Government decided on Wednesday to hike up the import tariffs on the goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina by 100%.
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj on Wednesday said he backed a call by Trade and Industry Minister Endrit Shala for the country to sharply increase taxes on Serbian and Bosnian imports from 10 per cent, as imposed on November 6th, to 100 per cent.
Haradinaj said the tax hike would come into effect immediately and all government institutions would have to take note of it.
Shala said that Kosovo was still being treated “unequally” in regional markets by Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Nobody can sell their products in Kosovo and, at the same time, forbid our products from being sold in their markets. This is a reciprocal relationship and we insist that this should be respected,” Shala said.
Haradinaj said he supported the new measures. “Kosovo has been blocked for a long time and … CEFTA [the regional free trade agreement] is not functioning between Kosovo and Serbia, so I support the proposal,” he said.
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The European Union criticized the tax imposed by Kosovo on 6 November and asked the authorities to abolish it.
But the government has declined to do so, saying it imposed the new tariffs on products from Serbia and Bosnia for their “negative behaviour towards Kosovo”. Neither country recognises Kosovo’s independence.
Ministry spokesperson Elhami Ismaili said the ministry wanted the measure kept in place “because Serbia and Bosnia are damaging Kosovo’s initiatives to join international mechanisms.
“These two countries do political and economic damage to Kosovo, even jeopardizing its statehood,” he said.
Crnadak: Boorish decision by so-called Kosovo
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Igor Crnadak pointed out that Pristina’s newest measure is “a completely meaningless and revisionist decision, as a result of Kosovo’s failure to enter Interpol.”
“Bosnia and Herzegovina did not deserve this because we acted principally as we have been doing all these years or voting for membership in those organizations that are defined by the Brussels talks of Belgrade and Pristina,” Crnadak told Klix.ba.
“When it comes to a 10 per cent higher import tariff, it can have some kind of economic logic, but a 100 per cent tax sends a clear message that somebody does not want to cooperate with you,” he adds.
Crnadak pointed out that the latest measure would have many consequences, but at the moment it is most important to hear the opinion of the European Union.
Kosovo Chamber of Commerce: To increase control of goods entering Kosovo
The Kosovo Chamber of Commerce believes that the decision to increase tariffs will positively affect local production, increase employment, and improve the quality of life in Kosovo.
The Chamber also believes that it is now necessary to increase the control of goods at administrative crossings because, according to the reports, misunderstandings could happen due to lack of control.
(Vecernje Novosti, 21.11.2018)
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