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Kosovo Government Expected To Lift Serbian Import Tax

Kosovo Government Expected To Lift Serbian Import Tax

The speaker of Kosovo’s parliament Vjosa Omani has stated that Vetvendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo will meet in the coming days to decide on whether to abolish the 100% import tax in Serbian goods, imposed by the previous government.

She stated yesterday in reference to the tax:

“Concerning its agreement, I believe that in 2-3 days we will have a coordination meeting and all the steps will be taken in terms of both time and content. Within a few days we will be able, as I have pointed out earlier, not to give this answer on behalf of the assembly, but as a coalition partner. ”

The head of the LDK parliamentary group, Arben Gashi, also spoke on the same issue said that by lifting of the tariff it was hoped that dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia could resume.

“We as a ruling coalition are trying to remove the tariff to give the international community a chance to facilitate dialogue with Serbia. After the tariff is lifted we have a chance to continue dialogue…”

AAK representatives have objected to the ruling coalition’s decision to lift the tariff on Serbia without reciprocal recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.

Former Prime Minister Haradinaj has publicly urged Prime Minister Kurti not to lift the tariff if Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence. In a public letter a few days ago, Haradinaj reminded Kurti that the internationals could tempt him with various benefits in exchange for lifting the tax on Serbia, but Kosovo must seek full reciprocity from Serbia before agreeing.

With the arrival of the new government and the visit of US Special Envoy to Kosovo Richard Grenell who has called for the immediate lifting of the tax on Serbia, it seems that the decision to lift the tax has already been taken and is only expected to be formalized.

Since 2018 Kosovo has imposed a 100 percent tax on Serbian and Bosnian goods. The move was seen as a response by the government of Ramush Haradinaj to Serbia’s blocking policies, and after imposing the tax, President Aleksandar Vucic suspended talks on normalizing Kosovo-Serbia relations.

For two years, internationals have been trying to mediate the resumption of dialogue, but Serbia did not accept a return to talks without the lifting of the tax, while Kosovo did not accept the lifting of the tax without stopping the Serbian campaign to withdraw recognition.

Upon taking office as Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti has said he will replace the tax with reciprocity against Serbia and that reciprocity will be implemented “economically, commercially and politically”, but without clarifying how this will happen.

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