Macedonia warns with withdrawal from FTA negotiations with Kosovo

Shkup/Skopje, 14 Feb 2004 – Macedonian government will withdraw from negotiations on Free Trade Agreement with Kosova, if Kosovars insist to impose customs to some Macedonian products, which have been entering duty free to Kosova, KosovaLive has reported.

Skopje officials said yesterday that the problems between Kosova and Macedonia have emerged following submission of the FTA version from the side of Kosova authorities.

Under 1996 Preferential Belgrade-Skopje Agreement, the Macedonian producers were allowed to send goods to Yugoslavia duty free by paying only 1% of tax in goods, same as Yugoslav producers to Macedonia.

This agreement was recognized by UNMIK, while Macedonian officials have not applied the principle of reciprocity, forcing Kosova’s producers to pay customs taxes for their goods sent to Macedonia.

Last autumn the SRSG Soren Jessen-Petersen warned the authorities in Skopje that if they do not enter into FTA with Kosova, then he would impose customs for Macedonian products.