Kosovo expands new tax on imports from Serbia and Bosnia

Kosovo expands new tax on imports from Serbia, Bosnia to include international brands.

Kosovo's government said it has amended a decision taken last month to impose a 100% import tax on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia by expanding its scope to include products manufactured under international brands in the two neighbouring countries.

The move is prompted by Serbia's continuing attempts to damage Kosovo's sovereignty, prime minister Ramush Haradinaj said after a government meeting, as quoted in a government press release.

Haradinaj added that Serbian prime minister Ana Brnabic is sending letters to the prime ministers of countries that have recognised Kosovo’s independence and urging them to revoke their decision. He also said that the silence of EU official on this issue is unacceptable.

On November 21, Kosovo government said it decided to increase the import tax on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia to 100% from 10% set earlier in the month in order to protect Kosovo’s sovereignty and interests.

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The decision drew fire from the EU. Johannes Hahn, the EU enlargement commissioner, said the new tariffs on imports from Serbia and Bosnia are unacceptable and against the principles of the Regional Economic Area (REA) and Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

Serbia was the biggest importer into Kosovo with around 450 million euro ($511 million) of imports in 2017, whereas imports from Bosnia amounted to around 82 million euro, according to data from Kosovo’s statistical office.

Kosovo, considered to be a potential candidate for EU membership by the European Commission, unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has so far has been recognised by more than half of the 193 UN member states. It is the only country in the Western Balkans whose citizens need visas to travel to EU member states.