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Kosovo slaps import tariffs on Serb, Bosnian goods

Kosovo’s government has imposed a customs tariff of 10 per cent on goods entering the country from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in retaliation for what it has called the two countries’ “lack of recognition and savage policies.”

“For the first time in our history as a new country, we have imposed customs tariffs on all the products made in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, although international brands produced in the two countries will be exempted,” stated Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.

“Serbia is spending a huge amount of money to damage the state of Kosovo and a large part of this money is coming from our market,” added Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Maja Kocijačič, the EU spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, requested urgent clarification.

“The EU is seeking clarifications about the unexpected decision by the Kosovo government to impose a 10 per cent increase on import taxes on goods coming from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Ms Kocijančič. “These measures are a clear violation of Kosovo’s obligations under CEFTA. We expect Kosovo to comply with its CEFTA obligations and revoke the measures.”

The Bosnian Minister of Trade Mirko Šarović also said that the tariffs are in breach of CEFTA rules and called on Kosovo to remove them immediately.

Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaçi is due to meet his Serb counterpart Aleksandar Vučić in Brussels on November 8, for discussions hosted by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. The two leaders are expected to confirm their readiness to intensify the work needed to reach a legally binding agreement on comprehensive normalisation, which is crucial for their respective European paths. It is unclear if the import tariffs will be discussed.