Serbia suffers €280.8mn damage due to Kosovo’s tariffs, minister says

By bne IntelliNews August 13, 2019

Serbia has suffered €280.8mn damages as its exports to Kosovo fell dramatically after Pristina introduced import tariffs on Serbian products last year, the government in Belgrade said.

Kosovo imposed 100% tariffs on imported goods from Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina in November 2018 after Kosovo’s bid to join Interpol was thwarted by Serbia. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It is still not recognised as a separate country by Serbia or Bosnia.

Serbian Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic said that Serbia’s deliveries of goods to Kosovo are now worth nearly €1.1mn less on average on a daily basis than before the tariffs were imposed, according to the government’s August 11 statement.

"In a worst-case scenario, the introduction of tariffs may cause Serbia's GDP to fall by 0.8 percentage point," Ljajic said.

Ljajic estimated that only the US and the EU could realistically affect the abolition of tariffs, but that regional trade association CEFTA is powerless to address the problem.

EU and US officials have urged the Kosovan authorities to remove the tariffs and engage in EU-mediated dialogue, but Kosovo’s outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj insists that the taxes will be lifted only once Serbia recognises Kosovo as an independent state.

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