Serbia’s and Bosnia’s ministers agreed in Sarajevo on Monday that two countries would introduce different models of retaliatory measures against Kosovo if Pristina’s 100 percent import taxes remained in place after July 1 when the Western Balkans leaders were due to meet in Paris, the Beta news agency reported.
Rasim Ljaic, Serbia ‘s Minister of Trade and Mirko Sarovic, Bosnia’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations said their countries should “cooperate and implement coordinated activities aimed at increasing the pressure for the tariffs’ abolishment.”
The two ministers pledged for better economic integration in the Balkans with a shared commercial space without any barriers and complicated procedures which, as they said, made the flow of people, goods and capital more difficult.
They said the pre-condition for such moves was the unconditional lifting of Pristina’s tariffs.
If that doesn’t happen, the two agree, the European Union will additionally lessen its credibility, while the Balkan countries will miss yet another opportunity for economic revival and normalisation of the political situation.
Ljajic and Sarovic said Serbia's and Bosnia and Herzegovina's economies had suffered losses of 80 and 97 percent respectively since last November when Kosovo’s Government introduced the import duties in response for Pristina’s failure to join Interpol what Kosovo blamed Serbia for.
The two said Kosovo’s population also experienced damages since the prices there rose 5.3 percent, the foreign debt was up 5.4 percent, and the import of goods was 6.4 percent higher.
Bosnia and Serbia will ask the European Commission to get more actively involved into an urgent reform of the Central European Foreign Trade Agreement (CEFTA) which, the ministers said, was violated by the import tariffs that stopped almost all regional initiatives.