Study focuses on Kosovo-Albania trade barriers

Despite a growing trade exchange and efforts to deepen economic cooperation through numerous agreements, trade barriers are still hampering economic integration between Albania and Kosovo.

A study conducted by the Kosovo based think- tank, GAP Institute, Riinvest Institute, and the Albanian Center for Competitiveness and International Trade (ACIT), highlights issues on the implementation of the trade agreements signed between Kosovo and Albania.

“The notable lack of trust, as ascertained by the relevant administrations, often creates blockages and delays in the development of trade,” finds the study.

It explains that both countries face corruption in relevant customs administrations, high transport costs, also burdened by road tolls, requirements for notarization of phytosanitary documentation, high scanning fees, discriminatory excise duties on some products, etc.

According to the study, 53 concrete objectives arising from the Kosovo- Albania trade agreements have been identified. While only 49% of these objectives have been fully achieved.

“The political will, expressed occasionally by the two governments in joint meetings, has not been satisfactorily translated into concrete actions and significant facilitation of trade barriers,” the report reads.

To ensure implementation of agreements signed between two countries and the elimination of identified barriers, the study recommends; to establish a stable bilateral structure, with political and technical representation, with a clear mandate and obligation to monitor and accelerate the implementation of agreements, elimination of barriers, and following other steps towards economic integration.

Other recommendations as listed from the study are; drafting a strategy and action plan for trade and economic integration to maintain coherence and maximize impact, signing new agreements for the harmonization of tax and excise legislation, to eliminate the existing barriers for setting up and establishing businesses in both countries, to establish joint instruments to support common development policies, etc.

Albania and Kosovo signed 14 other agreements on different topics during the joint governmental meeting on Friday in Tirana, including a memorandum of Cooperation in Railway Transport.