Monday, 29 November 2021 | News today: 0

Regional ministers to meet over Kosovo duty increase

118213226-520x239 (1)

A meeting of regional ministers, hosted by Serbian Minister of Trade Rasim Ljajic in Belgrade on Wednesday, is expected to produce a joint stance over the decision by Kosovo to increase customs duties for fruit and vegetable imports.

The meeting also includes Macedonian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy Ljupco Nikolovski, Montenegro Economy Minister Dragica Sekulic, and Bosnia-Herzegovina Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mirko Sarovic.

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 Tuesday, Minister Nikolovski said he expected Kosovo to rescind the measure.

“The decision has to be cancelled. All talks imply this. We are in constant communication with the Kosovo authorities. The government in Kosovo is expected to hold a session by the end of the day. I personally believe there will be a new moment in the next few hours,” Minister Nikolovski told a press conference.

According to him, all options will be considered to cover damages caused by the Kosovo measures, which has suspended the export of produces from Macedonia. Adequate reciprocal measures will be taken, Nikolovski said.

Damages estimated at nearly €3 million have been registered in the past few days. It can greatly affect the local economy, say Macedonian businessmen and urge Kosovo to withdraw the measure.

According to the Association of Chambers of Commerce, Kosovo’s decision is ‘politically biased and does not correspond with the needs of the market.’