Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Communications Rasim Ljajic said on Feb. 19 that Serbia had lost EUR461 million due to Kosovo’s introduction of taxes on Serbian goods 14 months ago, i.e. that it sends to Kosovo goods worth EUR1 million less every day.
Speaking for the RTS public service, Ljajic also said that that this situation will affect producers cooperating with Kosovo’s producers in the long-run, because it is a question when will they be able to return to that market even when the taxes are abolished.
Ljajic added that Kosovo importers are already paying more for wheat as there is no replacement for all goods produced in Serbia, but that all neighboring and regional countries have taken advantage of the situation to place their goods there and increase exports.
The minister also pointed out that the situation will remain unfavorable even if Pristina lifts the tariffs but retains some other measures, such as so-called reciprocity, demanding, for example, that the “Republic of Kosovo” be written on export invoices, because many producers will refuse to sign such documents. He also expressed his doubts that “our customs service will allow the exit of such goods from Serbia.”
Ljajic also said that Serbia wants free trade and is ready for lifting all barriers. He praised the re-establishing of air and railway traffic with Kosovo, but said that there will be no progress unless the taxes are abolished.