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TIRANA (Albania), November 26 (SeeNews) – Albania and Kosovo will remove all trade barriers between them in the first half of next year, Albania’s prime minister Edi Rama said on Monday, just days after Kosovo's government said it would increase the import tax on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia.
“Zero tariffs and zero non-tariff barriers within the first half of next year between Albania and Kosovo,” Rama said in a press release, following a joint meeting of the governments of Albania and Kosovo held in the Kosovo city of Peja.
The two countries will advance a project for unification of customs and remove border controls within the first half of 2019, Rama noted, adding that from January 1, Kosovo will have a customs office in Albania's biggest sea port of Durres.
Albania and Kosovo will also work towards harmonization of legislation for all documents and certificates of products within six months, Rama added.
“What is given in Albania as a document should be considered a document issued in Kosovo and vice versa.”
The two countries will also implement an agreement for mutual recognition of driving licences within the first half of next year, Rama noted, adding that Albania and Kosovo will also scrap roaming fees.
Albania's prime minister supported the decision of Kosovo's government to levy a 100% import tax on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia.
“Whoever sees the 100% tariff as an economic decision is wrong. No, the 100% tariff is a political reaction. Political reaction to the continuing excesses of Serbia's supremacist behaviour towards Kosovo,” Rama said.
Last week, Kosovo's government said it would increase the import tax on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia to 100% with immediate effect. The measure, it said, was meant to protect Kosovo's sovereignty and interests.
The governments of Serbia and Bosnia said they would not impose countermeasures in response to Kosovo's decision.
The European Union called on Kosovo to withdraw the decision which further exacerbates the situation following the initial imposition of 10% import tax earlier this month.
"The Kosovo government has to immediately revoke these decisions," the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini said in a press release last week.
Serbia and Bosnia both do not recognise the independence of Kosovo, the former southern province of Serbia populated predominantly by ethnic Albanians.
Most of Kosovo's imports orginate in Serbia - around 450 million euro ($512 million) in 2017, whereas Kosovo's imports from Bosnia amount to around 82 million euro, according to data from country’s statistical office.
($ = 0.88175 euro)