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Nikolovski urges Kosovo to fully revoke tariffs on produces, Bektesi to visit Pristina on Friday

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Agriculture ministers from Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a representative of Montenegro, on Wednesday in Belgrade welcomed Kosovo for its decision to partly lift trade barriers, but urged it to withdraw tariffs for other products.

On Tuesday, the Kosovo government reached a decision to partly lift the temporary measure. It still affects several produces, such as tomatoes, peepers, apples, pears, plums, grapes and raspberries.

“Macedonia is most affected by these barriers. We expect immediate withdrawal of this decision. Otherwise, Macedonia will take all measures and steps necessary to protect our agriculture, its national production and the citizens,” Macedonian Minister of Agriculture Ljupco Nikolovski said after the meeting in Belgrade.

Additionally, Economy Minister Kresnik Bektesi announced to meet his Kosovo colleague on Friday.

The ministers of agriculture, trade and economy of Macedonia, Serbia and BiH, and a representative of Montenegro, convened Wednesday in Belgrade, where they decided that every country could introduce counter-measures unless Kosovo as soon as possible lifted the remaining trade barriers.

The ministers reached a decision on the establishment of an operating body tasked with preventing and solving future trade barriers in the region. At the same time, they pledged to prevent a tariff war in the region saying ‘all countries will turn out to lose something.’

The operating body will function until Protocol 7 of the CEFTA Agreement is enforced, according to Serbia’s Minister of Trade Rasim Ljajic.

“The body will be focused on swift and effective resolution of possible problems and on preventing new customs barriers. It doesn’t mean that the CEFTA Agreement is revoked, it only serves as a temporary measure until full implementation of Protocol 7,” said Ljajic.

On July 18, Kosovo authorities introduced temporary measure to apply customs tariffs of 30% on the import of certain types of fruit and vegetables from CEFTA countries.