Kosovo declares trade war after hitting Serbia with 100% tariffsAdriatic Journal 21 November 2018
A day after Kosovo’s failed attempt to join Interpol, its government passed a proposal to increase tax on Serbian and Bosnian goods from 10% (introduced earlier this month) to 100%, in retailiation for, what it calls, an aggressive campaign by Serbia to block Kosovo from becoming a member of international organisations. On his twitter feed, Kosovo’s deputy prime minister Enver Hoxhaj said: “Serbia is continuing its aggressive campaign against Kosovo in the int’l stage. It is also undermining the normalisation process. To defend our vital interest, Government of Kosovo has decided today to increase the customs tariff to 100%.” He added that other measures will be announced soon. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the decision “is a clear violation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and of the spirit ofthe Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Union and Kosovo.” Both Serbia and Kosovo are part of Cefta, a free trade agreement amongst Balkan countries. Serbia’s deputy prime minister and minister for trade Rasim Ljajić said the tariffs will have grave consequences. “This means a complete cessation of every kind of trade between central Serbia and Kosovo.” Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vučić said, however, that Serbia will not introduce any counter measures because it does not want to violate the Stabilisation and Association Agreement nor the Cefta agreement. Last year, exports to Kosovo from Serbia amounted to EUR 440m, while Serbia’s imports from Kosovo were worth EUR 21m. Ljajić said trade was expected to grow by 9% this year.