Kosovo to prepare for negotiations to join WTO

Prishtina, 8 October 2007 – The World Trade Organization (WTO) has recommended that Kosovo Government prepares negotiations to join the organization. The main countries in WTO have welcomed Kosovo’s initiative to start negotiations on a possible membership.

Minister of Trade and Industry (MTI), Bujar Dugolli, who represented Kosovo at the WTO conference in Geneva, said Kosovo is in a better position to become member of the organization compared to many countries.

“I have explained that Kosovo fulfils the conditions to start negotiations on joining the organization since it is an independent customs territory which is about to define its political status. Based on Ahtisaari’s package, Kosovo is allowed to become member of the World Trade Organization,” stated Minister Dugolli.

According to him, the customs code of Kosovo and the tariff policies applied by Kosovo are in harmony with the policies of the European Commission and represent a great advantage in relation to the requests of the organization. However, much remains to be done in the standardization of products, creation of true competition, governmental procurement and respecting intellectual and industrial ownership.

“If we speak about governmental procurement, the working group will request from the public procurement agency to change the law and compile it in accordance with the rules required by the European Commission and WTO. If the agricultural policies are not in line with WTO rules, the Ministry of Agriculture should deal with these issues,” said Minister Dugolli.

Dugolli also said that he engaged Mr. Tahir Shabani to represent Kosovo in preparation for talks on membership. Shabani also assisted Albania to join WTO.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry plays the role of a coordinator between various mechanisms of Kosovar Institutions to harmonize the policies in relation to requests of WTO.