Trade relations with Kosovo are driven by political decisions

Trade relations between Albania and Kosovo in the past few years have always been dictated by political decisions. While in principle, everyone claims that they want the best of economic relations between the two countries, figures have not always sustained this, except for cases when politics have favoured them.
So, a 100% tax hike on Serbian imports was needed to be introduced by Kosovo at the end of last year in order for Albanians to have more accession in Kosovar markets. This is also confirmed by data supplied by the country’s office for statistics, INSTAT, according to which, exports for “Made in Albania” goods have surged. “In December 2018, the biggest increase in exports compared to December 2017 was with Kosovo. This increase was 44.5%”, experts of INSTAT say.

On the other hand, governments from both countries have said that trade relations between the two countries must be liberalized as soon as possible. They’ve even drafted a concrete strategy for free movement of people and goods between the two countries. Kosovo’s PM, Ramush Haradinaj, declared in a recent visit that he made in Vlora, that “starting from 1 January 2019, no customs fees will be applied between the two countries”. Meanwhile, it must be stressed that goods and people passing through customs of Morina must only make one stop.

Many economic agreements reached during 5 joint meetings

Five joint meetings have taken place between governments of Albania and Kosovo so far. These meetings have been held on 11 January 2014; 23 March 2015; 3 June 2016; 24 April 2017 and 26 November 2018. Economic agreements have taken centre stage during these meetings. Let us recall that during the meeting held in Pec, the two governments signed an agreement concerning Morina-Vernica border crossing point or the opening of the bilateral Chamber of Commerce between Albania and Kosovo. All of this aims at creating a joint economic space between Albania and Kosovo.

Still not enough goods from Kosovo in Albanian markets

While the volume of Albanian goods heading to Kosovo is increasing, the same cannot be said about the opposition. This is confirmed by the figures supplied by INSTAT. According to these figures, imports from Kosovo did not see an increase at the end of last year. On the other hand, after Kosovo introduced the 100% tax hike on Serbian imports, Albanian exports registered a significant increase. In December 2018, Albania imported 823 million leks worth of goods from Kosovo, while annual exports were 8.9 billion lek.

/afp/

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