Analysis 06 Nov 17

Threat to Quit CEFTA Stirs Debate in Kosovo

As Kosovo’s government mulls withdrawing from CEFTA, citing its unequal treatment, economists warn that a halt to regional free trade will result in price rises.

Die Morina
Foto from Facebook page of Kosova Chamber of Commerce

Kosovo’s recent announcement that it may withdraw from the Central European Free Trade Agreement, CEFTA, due to what it sees as its unequal treatment, has triggered a lively argument about this plan and its possible consequences.

The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, which represents Kosovo in CEFTA, has urged the government in Pristina to reconsider the threat, while most local experts warn that such a move would increase the prices of many imported goods.

Kosovo’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Bajram Hasani, on Friday said Kosovo would consider withdrawing from CEFTA if its demand for direct representation - instead of being represented by UNMIK - is not taken into account.

“We are invited to participate at CEFTA’s roundtable on the 23rd of this month. Of course we are going to raise some issues there. We have also asked the EU Office to put pressure on UNMIK to give up its preamble and to be recognized as the Republic of Kosovo,” Bajrami was quoted as saying on Friday.

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