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Kosovo's ban on products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina could mean new trade opportunities for Croatia.
Cereals, paper, sugar, fertilizers and plastic are just some of the products needed in Kosovo that Croatia could supply.
Kosovo recently established reciprocity measures with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, neither of which recognizes Kosovo customs stamps.
As of July 19, Kosovo no longer recognizes customs and tax stamps from Serbia, and has banned the import of goods containing Serbian stamps. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo no longer recognizes customs stamps, and has introduced a new tax of 10 per cent on all goods bearing those stamps.
Kosovo's ambassador to Croatia, Valter Sadiku, said the measures were taken after three years of failed talks with Serbia.
"Since Kosovo’s independence, Kosovan producers have not had the opportunity to export their products to those two markets," he explained. "They did not even have the right to transport goods through them, which is a violation of the CEFTA agreement and principles of free trade."
Sadiku invited Croatian companies to make a more aggressive approach to the Kosovo market.
But some business people believe that the trade embargoes are only temporary, and will not make much difference for Croatian exporters in the long term.
"Very soon after the war between Serbia and Kosovo, Serbian products returned to the market, and today’s situation is far from war," said Ivan Miloloza, the owner of Munja, a company that sells car batteries in Kosovo. "A short suspension will not mean that consumers will turn to other products, though perhaps some firms could use this pause."
There are currently 120 Croatian firms doing business in Kosovo, according to the daily Vecernji List.
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