US Embassy: Increasing duties on fellow CEFTA members does not benefit Kosovo

The US embassy in Pristina reacted a week after the Kosovo government adopted a decision imposing a 10% tax increase on products from Serbia and Bosnia, and emphasized that this decision by the government is creating uncertainty for businesses and generating economic instability.

The United States Chargé d’Affaires to Kosovo, Colleen Hyland, reacted to the Kosovo government’s decision to increase duties on the import of products from Serbia and Bosnia on Twitter tonight.

“Increasing duties on fellow CEFTA members does not benefit Kosovo. Only creates uncertainty for businesses and generates economic instability. Better to put more effort into securing a prosperous future through Dialogue,” Hyland tweeted.

The CEFTA agreement is a free trade agreement used by non-EU countries to create a single customs zone, based on the principles of free trade among EU member states. The agreement was signed in 2006.

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia and UNMIK / Kosovo are members of CEFTA.

The President of Serbia expressed his distrust towards the opposite side in the dialogue today, which is, according to him, violating agreements from 12 years ago.

„We cannot be in dialogue with those who are violating the agreements they signed 12 years ago and who, every time, think that it is allowed and that they can exert extra pressure on our country,“ Vucic said.

 On November 6th, the Kosovo government adopted a decision to increase the tax on the import of products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina by 10%. Kosovo officials cited the protection of the domestic market as the reason behind the adoption of this measure – which also represents „the best answer to Serbia’s destructive behavior“.

This measure was adopted after just over 10 days since the Kosovo media published articles on Kosovo being “conquered” by “Made in Serbia” products and that imports from Serbia will amount to 400 million euros by the end of the year.

As the Kosovo customs spokesperson confirmed for the media, the implementation of this decision started the day after its adoption.

Serbian media reported that the European Commission immediately reacted, seeking an explanation of this decision of the Kosovo government. Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Germany looks upon this decision unfavorably.

However, with the exception of Serbian and Bosnian officials, so far there have been no official statements from representatives of the international community condemning this decision of the Kosovo government.

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