Text of report in English by independent internet news agency KosovaLive
Prishtina [Pristina], 17 May: The government has refused the Macedonian Government's proposal on Free Trade Agreement [FTA], after the model of the preferential agreement signed between the Belgrade and Shkup [Skopje] in 1996.
Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Kadri Kryeziu told KosovaLive the proposal of the Macedonian Government is unacceptable.
Under the Free Trade Agreement between Shkup and Belgrade, all products of Macedonia can enter without tax into Serbia, and vice versa.
The Kosova [Kosovo] Government doesn't agree with this model, saying that some Kosova products, especially agricultural ones, need to be exempted from the FTA, because local products meet Kosova's market demands.
Kryeziu said that they had several meetings with Macedonians. "We do not agree on the previous FTA signed between Serbia and Macedonia. We want an agreement between Macedonia and Kosova. We have our conditions and we absolutely do not agree on signing an agreement similar to that Shkup had signed with Belgrade," said Kryeziu.
Currently goods from Macedonia have to pay a custom tax of 1 per cent because UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] is applying the FTA that was signed between Belgrade and Shkup in 1996.
According to Kryeziu, the previous agreement with Macedonia was in disadvantage to Kosova. "No agreement will be made to the disadvantage to Kosova," said Kryeziu.
According to the MTI [Ministry of Trade and Industry] officials, next week is expected to resuming of negotiations for signing of the FTA between Kosova and Macedonia in Shkup. Last time they were held in Prishtina in April.
Kosova has signed an FTA only with Albania, while it is also negotiating with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kosova was not allowed to sign any FTA because of its unresolved status. But the UN Legal Office in New York has clarified this position and now Kosova is included in the Memorandum of Agreement signed by Stability Pact for liberalization of regional market.
Source: KosovaLive web site, Pristina, in English 17 May 05