Kosovo warns to close border with Albania for a day, as trade clash deteriorates

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 6, 2019 13:53

Kosovo warns to close border with Albania for a day, as trade clash deteriorates

Story Highlights

  • Executive Director of the “Producer Club” Astrit Panxha, said that Albania is second behind Serbia for trade barriers to Kosovo and warned measures close the border for one day in the summer season as a sign of protest.

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TIRANA, June 5- The trade war between Kosovo and Albania has been aggravated recently. A few weeks ago at a summit in Tirana, the two friendly states collided with the market. There is no mention of the imposition of a tax. The Producers’ Club and the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce discussed on Monday the problems and trade barriers between the two countries. At this meeting, the closure of the border was announced in the summer season.

Albania and Kosovo have closed a trade facilitation meeting weeks ago, but instead of facilitating a trade war between the two countries has started. From this meeting until now there have been many warnings from Kosovo that it would also set a tax. On Monday  there has also been a new threat from Kosovo to Albania. Executive Director of the “Producer Club” Astrit Panxha, said that Albania is second behind Serbia for trade barriers to Kosovo and warned measures close the border for one day in the summer season as a sign of protest.

“We have discussed in Tirana the European Commission report, where after Serbia, Albania comes out second for barriers to Kosovo. These barriers should be removed, otherwise we will put the trailers as a sign of protest during the season time, we will close the border for 1 day,” said Panxha.

He has also said that the market with Albania is unilateral. Panxha said that Albania’s market as a producer is the most interesting market for Kosovo, but it is also a market because of geographical and ethnic connections. The trade is unilateral for Albania, as according to statistics for the same period last year, Albania’s exports to Kosovo  have increased by 20 million euros, while Kosovo’s exports to Albanian by only 1 million euros. The President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Berat Rukiqi, has listed a number of trade problems with Albania and the barriers created.

“We have many unresolved issues, problems that are collected over a decade and no political will to resolve them. In public procurements, exports, any kind of partnership that has been attempted to be built by our companies is hampered by the authorities in Albania. Companies have not achieved so far to have a proper position in the Albanian market, which for our companies is the main market or should have been,” said Rukiqi. He recommended that the agreements reached between Kosovo and Albania be respected. Rukiqi said they have come to raise these issues and that there will taken actions to protect Kosovo’s producer for export, in this case to Albania.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, declared the case on Sunday, June 2. Haradinaj said in a press conference that he hopes to resolve the trade problems that Kosovo has with Albania, but has neither affirmed nor denied whether taxes will be imposed on Albania as well. Haradinaj only replied that “I hope to solve these problems” when asked about the possibility of imposing tariff barriers on Albania. He said Kosovo has good relations with Albania, but there are some disagreements about trade and the market.

Also Minister of Trade and Industry Endrit Shala, said that Kosovar businesses are facing many barriers during their export to CEFTA countries for political reasons. According to him, Kosovar business barriers are rarely reported but are evident and it is precisely these barriers that are the underlying reasons for the trade balance currently in Kosovo. Shala has called on businesses from Albania to report on the barriers they face, as according to him Kosovo’s position is to respect all reached agreements, and open markets for Albanian products. Shala has said he asks for the same treatment for Kosovo’s producers that exports to Albania. 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 6, 2019 13:53