Kosovo lifts 100pc tariff on Serb, Bosnian goods

TIRANA, Albania (AP) – Kosovo has lifted a 100 per cent tariff on goods from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, opening the way to resuming talks on normalising ties with Serbia, the government said yesterday.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that starting yesterday there would be no 100 per cent tariff on Serb goods. He said that in a reciprocity gesture, all Serb goods entering Kosovo should have documentation certifying their quality, just as Kosovar goods going to Serbia currently have such documentation.

Serbia should lift barriers such as not letting in vehicles with Kosovar number plates and foreign people coming from Kosovo, Kurti said.

“We want equality because we feel discriminated against” Kurti said.

Kosovo will monitor the new measures until June 15 and if no reciprocity is applied, the tariffs will be restored, according to the government.

Earlier Kurti had wanted the abolition of tariffs made conditional on Serbia stopping an international campaign against Kosovo’s recognition as a country, something which he did not mention on Tuesday.

The 100 per cent tariff on Bosnian goods was lifted unconditionally, but Kurti called on the Bosnian leadership to lift the visa regime for Kosovar citizens.

In mid-March, Kosovo partially lifted the tariff for raw materials imported from Serbia.

European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell hailed Kosovo’s move as “an important decision”.

Kosovo imposed the punitive tariffs in November 2018 over Serbian efforts to block Kosovo from joining international organisations. The dispute led to the suspension of EU-mediated talks, which started in 2011.

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic has described Kurti’s proposed phase-out as a trick.

Newly elected Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti delivers a speech, in the capital Pristina. PHOTO: AP