Ljajic: Kosovo should either abolish additional import fee or leave CEFTA

Official Belgrade expects the European Commission to exert pressure on Pristina to abolish a 10 per cent tax on Serbian goods, or as an alternative, Kosovo should leave the CEFTA agreement –  said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic.

“You cannot sit at a table where one rule applies to all other partners, and special rules apply only to you. Even countries that are in war do not resort to such draconian measures,” Ljajic said, referring to Pristina’s behaviour that goes against the CEFTA postulates.

“If the European Commission does not respond urgently, I think that the entire CEFTA agreement and all that we have done to form a single economic zone will fall apart,” said Ljajic.

He stated that that would be our failure, but above all, the failure of the European Union which has been constantly repeating that one of the main goals of the Berlin Process was establishing a common economic space in the Western Balkans. Belgrade, he says, cannot introduce any countermeasures because the import from Kosovo is negligible.

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Asked about the reports that the Serbian exports to Kosovo were halved, Ljajic said that the relevant data was still being collected, primarily from the major Serbian producers, traders and exporters, in cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the customs. “Unfortunately, the data would be approximate, but if it turns out that our export to Kosovo was halved, the sole reason for that is these incredible, inexplicable measures that defy economic logic,” said Ljajic.

The only thing that, at the moment, can be done is Belgrade exerting pressure on the all European institutions to react to this situation. “We will not be reconciled with this measure”, Ljajic adds.

On the speculation that the Kosovo institutions are calling for the boycott of Serbian goods, Ljajic commented that, if that was true, the reason for that is either minute political or big economic interests. “I do not think there is a third reason and motive for adopting such measures”, the minister adds.

It is worth mentioning that even in the first few years after the war, there were no calls for the boycott of the Serbian goods and the trading between Serbia and Kosovo was almost seamlessly, with very few difficulties.

“Back in the day, Kosovo imposed additional import fees on certain products that were subject to special excises, such as building blocks and flour, and now this applies to all goods imported from Serbia,” Ljajic said.

(Vecernje Novosti, 14.11.2018)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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