Macedonia's Export to Kosovo Drops

Macedonia's export to Kosovo is decreasing rapidly. The falling trend in the trade between both countries continues this year as well, after last year's registered decrease of 48.9% in export of goods. In 2012, the decline rate was 27.5%, daily Dnevnik reports. 

In the past few years, Kosovo's market was one of the most appealing markets for placement of Macedonian products, following the German.    

The last statistics showed that Kosovo is the second biggest export market for Macedonia, where, since the beginning of 2014, about USD 392 million worth goods were placed.

Yet, the latest business chambers' data showed that the Macedonian export mounted to USD 115.9 million. The decrease was mainly due to the fact that OKTA ceased to distribute petrol to Kosovo, which has built up the value of export. 

In addition, since the construction of the Pristina-Tirana road was launched, Kosovo started to supply petrol through the Drac Port, by far lower prices.  

Except the drop in petrol export to Kosovo, statistics showed a decrease in cement, iron and cigarettes distribution, which, according to the business community, is alarming.

"We have a red light from Kosovo. The exchange between both countries drops fast, mainly due to OKTA's closure, but because of other problems as well, deriving directly from the firms. It would be shameful for us, as a state, to fail maintaining the level of exchange, given the conditions in which Kosovo has functioned within the international community and the ruptured relations with the neighboring countries. 

Although partially illegal, the fact that Serbia has twice bigger exchange with Kosovo than Macedonia is unimaginable, says Branko Azeski. 

According to Azeski, the problem lies in the Macedonia-Kosovo offer, the competitiveness in prices, as well as the ignorance of businessmen.  

However, meetings of entrepreneurs from both countries have intensified during the past two months  in order to reach a solution to the problems.

Tomorrow, representatives of chambers of commerce from Macedonia and Kosovo are to sign a memorandum on trade improvement. The memorandum will consist of draft measures on addressing issues which are to be submitted to the governments of both countries.

"We will send our correspondent in Kosovo who will be in touch with our companies and at their disposal for eventual problems and the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce is to do the same. In talks with their and our businessmen, no one pointed to the problem with the cross-border transport. We will help by informing the entrepreneurs and the rest is up to them", Azeski says.

Two years ago, Kosovo has threatened with blockage of Macedonian products because, supposedly, Macedonian authorities requested additional documentation for importing goods in Macedonia. Last year, Kosovo authorities have imposed embargo on ten key products. A ban on wheat, flour, milk, tinned fruits, vegetables, juices, wine and other alcohol, as well as tobacco, was introduced as a response to the measure of the Macedonian authorities for temporary prohibited import of flour. Kosovo's embargo has provoked long lines of vehicles at the border.

However, the construction of the Pristina highway to the border crossing Blace brings hope for trade revival between both countries.

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