Serbia’s Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic said on Tuesday the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) of 2006 became debatable after Kosovo introduced the 100 percent import duties on goods from Serbia and requires a recovery to maintain, the Beta news agency reported.
Ljajic added Serbia was losing a million Euros per day due to Pristina’s taxes introduced last November.
“If CEFTA couldn’t prevent this, the very existence of the agreement on free trade is under question,” Ljajic told the Belgrade based daily Politika.
He suggested a possibility of forming “CEFTA plus,” but added that no agreement could be implemented without the European Union support.
“EU must be more included. It needs to put all issues on the table, remove the trade barriers, adjust the certificates and liberalise trade,” Ljajic said.
He added that now, goods were kept up to 30 hours on the border crossings which, according to him, was a loss of 30 million hours.
“We managed to solve all open issues with North Macedonia, with Bosnia out of 13, nine are resolved. Goodwill and coordination are necessary,” Ljajic said.
CEFTA is made up of Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Kosovo, Moldova, and Albania and according to the daily, Serbia’s total trade with CEFTA was 4.2 billion Euros in 2018.
Bosnia is Serbia’s largest trade partner, followed by Montenegro and North Macedonia.
Last year, before the taxes, Serbia exported goods worth 419 million Euros to Kosovo.
Pristina has been persistent in rejecting to suspend or annul the taxes despite the pressure from both Washington and Brussels and even though the tariffs stopped the EU-mediated Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on normalisation of relations and further deteriorated the ties between the two capitals.