Belgrade does not expect the problem of Kosovo’s increase of tariffs on goods from Serbia to be solved through the Central European Free Trade Agreement, CEFTA, and there is no hope for any compensation for the economic damage the policy has caused, said Serbia’s Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Rasim Ljajic.
“Nobody expects that CEFTA will be able to solve this, but we want to completely respect the legal procedure, so we can submit this for an arbitration,” Ljajic told the Beta news agency, commenting on a request Serbia sent to the CEFTA regional office end of November to solve the problem.
Pristina increased end of last year import tariffs by 100 per cent for goods from Serbia and Bosnia – the only two countries in the region that have not recognised Kosovo’s independence. Both countries have strongly protested Pristina’s move but have not been able to make Kosovo’s leadership change its mind.
Ljajic said that “we should be very objective and realistic when judging this legal procedure,” because CEFTA has never had an effective mechanism that would solve trade disputes.
“None of the disputes over the past 11 years were solved through CEFTA. If disputes would emerge, they would be solved bilaterally,” Ljajic said, adding that he personally took part in solving such a dispute with FYROM.
He would not offer details of what steps Serbia intends to make next but said that its legal team is considering options.