PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s new prime minister said Thursday his government will partially lift a 100% tariff imposed on Serbian goods, in a goodwill move aimed to help restart suspended talks with Serbia on normalizing relations.
Albin Kurti said the measure would come into effect from March 15 and would only apply to imported raw materials from neighboring Serbia.
In exchange Kurti asked Serbia to stop efforts to get countries that have recognized Kosovo as an independent state to revoke their recognition. He also called on Belgrade to lift constraints on products and services from Kosovo.
Kosovo was formerly a part of Serbia, and won independence after a 1999 NATO bombing campaign that ended a bloody Serb crackdown on an armed uprising by members of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority. Serbia refuses to accept Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.
Kurti said that if he gets a positive response from Serbia Kosovo will abolish the 100% tariff for all Serbian goods as of April 1.
“This first step by us is a sign of good will and I expect the same from Belgrade,” he said at a news conference.
The 100% tariff on Serbian and Bosnian goods was imposed in November 2018 to counter Serbia’s hampering Kosovo’s efforts to join international organisations. At the time, the government in Pristina said it would only be scrapped if Belgrade recognized Kosovo.