Kosovo’s new Prime Minister Albin Kurti announced on February 27 that the country will partially and conditionally remove the 100% tariffs imposed on goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina starting from March 15.
The tariffs were imposed by the previous government led by Ramush Haradinaj in November 2018 due to political reasons. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but it is still not recognised as a separate country by Belgrade.
Kurti said that the move will be taken as a sign of goodwill and readiness to find a genuine resolution to economic, trade and political disputes with Serbia.
In the beginning the tariffs will be lifted only on raw materials from Serbia and Bosnia.
In return, PM Kurti called on Serbia to end its campaign against recognition of Kosovo's independence and to begin removing non-tariff barriers with Kosovo.
“If the Serbian side demonstrates genuine commitment to stop the unfriendly campaign and pledges to remove non-tariff barriers with Kosovo swiftly, then starting from April 1, the Kosovo’s government will completely lift the tariff on imports from Serbia and Bosnia for a period of 90 days,” the government said in the statement.
However, Kurti warned that if Serbia fails to comply with the Kosovo’s demands to eliminate economic, trade and political barriers then the government will start as of April 1 to gradually implement the principle of trade, economic and political reciprocity.
“If the Serbian party does not respond positively even after a period of 90 days starting from March 15, then the Kosovo’s government will recover tariffs as of June 15,” it said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said earlier in the day that it is only a matter of time before Serbia has to recognise Kosovo's independence, at least in practice if not officially.
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