A blockade of Serb goods entering Kosovo. This was the extreme measure taken yesterday by the government of Kosovo through a special decision which aimed at increasing import duty by as much as 100%. This decision came a day after Kosovo’s bid for Interpol membership was blocked. It was Kosovo’s minister of Trade, Endrit Shala the one to propose an increase of this duty by 100% for Serbian goods, as opposed to an initial 10%. Meanwhile, this tariff also applies to goods coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina. “As of today, we’re increasing duty on goods coming from Serbia and Bosnia by 100%. There’s lots of inequality as far as public offers are concerned, whereby Kosovar companies are unable to legally bid in public offers made in Serbia. On the other hand, there are more than 100 public contracts that Serbian companies have obtained in Kosovo”, he declared, while adding that there are many other similar problems. “Kosovo cannot develop its industry of transport and lose hundreds of jobs just because its lorries are not allowed to use Serbia as a transit country to reach the EU market”, Shala said, while the decision was also backed by the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj. “This decision takes effect immediately and all institutions need to comply with it”, he said. Meanwhile, immediately after this measure was announced, Serb president Aleksandar Vucic considered this as an irresponsible act by the government of Kosovo. Meanwhile, he has also asked the ambassadors of Russia and China to inform their presidents regarding the application of such measure.
European Union requests an immediate lifting of the tariff imposed on Serbia
The High Representative of the European Union, Federica Mogherini has demanded yesterday from the government of Kosovo to immediately scrap the 100% tariff for goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Considering this as “violation of the CEFTA agreement”, Mogherini said that this decision goes against the spirit of the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo.
“Today's decision of the Kosovo Government to increase the tax on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to 100% is a clear violation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and of the spirit of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Union and Kosovo. It further exacerbates the situation following the initial imposition of 10% tax increase last week. The Kosovo government has to immediately revoke these decisions”, she said.