New Kosovo Government Removes Reciprocity Measures with Serbia 

Kosovo’s government of Avdullah Hoti has removed reciprocity measures in trade with Serbia imposed by the previous Kurti government.

On Saturday, Hoti’s third day in office, the government repealed the two decisions from March and May of the previous government that demanded Serbian products to have documents according to Kosovo authorities’ rules, including “Republic of Kosovo” as country of destination.

This was Serbia’s main demand to sit back in dialogue for normalization of relations with Kosovo. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

Ministers from former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party, who initially imposed a 100 percent tariff on Serbian goods, voted against repealing reciprocity measures.

Prime Minister Abdullah Hoti stated that he is determined to remove “all obstacles” to the dialogue with Serbia. At the same time, he demanded Serbia to also “remove all obstacles”, without specifying what obstacles exactly he expects Serbia to remove.

Hoti warned that he, as the head of the executive of a sovereign state and in collaboration with international partners, would “take measures” if Serbia didn’t respond appropriately.

“We have taken an important decision to remove obstacles for the continuation of the dialogue. We expect the Serbian side to remove all obstacles, but we retain our right as a sovereign state to take measures to preserve our sovereignty in accordance with international partners,” Hoti warned.

The Prime Minister emphasized that the removal of reciprocity measures was carried out in “coordination with international partners”, and that he had informed the US ambassador last night on his decision.

The toppled Kurti government removed the 1– percent tariff and started gradual implementation of reciprocity measures with Serbia on April 1, despite opposition from the U.S. administration. Following Serbia’s refusal to end its derecognition campaign against Kosovo, on May 29, Kurti increased reciprocity measures by demanding all Serbian products carry documents showing “Republic of Kosovo” as country of destination. The measures were strictly implemented and a number of trucks carrying goods were turned back for not meeting the requirements, while many Serbian companies complied with the new measures.