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Minister Bekteshi in Kosovo over duty decision

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Economy Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi is set to meet Friday in Pristina with Kosovo Minister of Trade and Industry Bajram Hasani over the increased duties for fruit and vegetable imports.

Kosovo introduced the temporary measure on July 18, imposing 30-percent higher duties for fruit and vegetable imports over a period of 90 days for all countries.

Regional states have condemned the move and urged for its withdrawal, elaborating that it goes against the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and the free trade rules. The European Commission has also asked for the decision to be reconsidered.

On July 24, the Kosovo government decided to partially withdraw the decision, but it still encompasses tomatoes, peppers, apples, pears, plumes, raspberries and grapes, which represent the majority of Macedonian exports to Kosovo.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy said Thursday it is still not planning to introduce counter-measures while expecting Kosovo to fully annul the duty increase.

Regional ministers held a joint meeting in Belgrade on Wednesday, agreeing that Kosovo should withdraw the decision because it goes against CEFTA and the free trade principles. If not, each will react appropriately, in line with its national policies.