Serbian exports to Kosovo surge after lifting of tariffs

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 29, 2020 15:50

Serbian exports to Kosovo surge after lifting of tariffs

TIRANA, April 29 - Less than a month after the government of Kosovo lifted all tariffs on Serbian goods, Kosovo Customs reported that Serbia has made a total of 1,497 shipments to the country since April 1.

"Serbia has exported about 12 million euros worth of goods to Kosovo since the beginning of this month, when reciprocity measures imposed by the government were first implemented," Kosovo Customs stated.

On the other hand, Kosovo has exported 800 thousand euros worth of goods to Serbia so far.

"The food industry dominates, as well as the chemical one regarding imports, while as regards exports, some plant-based products and construction industry [dominate], ” Kosovo Customs added.

The government of Kosovo led by Prime Minister Albin Kurti lifted all tariffs on Serbian goods on April 1, simultaneously imposing reciprocity measures towards the country which will remain in place until June 15. The 100 percent tariffs on Serbian goods were first imposed in November 2018 by the government of Ramush Haradinaj, after Belgrade's agressive approach towards the independence of Kosovo.

This led to the suspension of talks on normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia due to Belgrade's refusal to sit at the negotiating table until tariffs were lifted.

Former Prime Minister Haradinaj resisted international pressure to remove the tariffs until July 2019 when he resigned to appear later before a Hague-based court investigating alleged crimes committed during and immediately after the 1998-99 Kosovo War. The collapse of his government was a result of internal clashes over tariffs as well.

Kosovo's new government headed by Albin Kurti, was subject to international pressure as well, after Kurti proposed a gradual lift of tariffs while introducing reciprocity measures towards Serbia. The US administration and President Trump’s envoy Richard Grenell put pressure on Kurti for weeks to unconditionally lift the tariff on Serbian goods, but the Prime Minister continued to follow through with his plan to gradually lift the tariff if Serbia ended the campaign against Kosovo’s independence.

Prior to the decision, Serbia was the largest exporter of products to Kosovo; before November 21, 2018 - when the 100 percent tax was imposed - Serbia exported goods worth about 1.2 million euros on a daily basis to Kosovo or about 450 million euros yearly.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 29, 2020 15:50