Kosovo began the provisional implementation of a free trade agreement with neighboring Macedonia on Wednesday, according to a U.N. statement.
Kosovo's customs authorities will continue to collect taxes on oil and some agricultural products with tariffs gradually decreasing until 2008, and Kosovo's products will have duty free access to Macedonia's market, the statement said.
The implementation of the deal follows months of negotiations between U.N. and government officials in Kosovo and Macedonia authorities. The agreement was concluded more than a month ago, but Macedonia has not yet formalized it, officials said.
The U.N. mission "is starting to provisionally implement the free trade agreement to not cause delays for Kosovo's economy to benefit from it," said Mechthild Henneke, a U.N. spokeswoman. "We understand that authorities in Macedonia are continuing to consider the documentation that will formalize the agreement."
Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations for the past six years following NATO's air war aimed at stopping the crackdown of Serbian troops on the province's separatist ethnic Albanians.
Since then, Kosovo has remained split between ethnic Albanians who want it to be independent and ethnic Serbs who want it to remain part of Serbia.
Kosovo's economy remains in tatters, with unemployment estimated at more than 50 percent. The province has had a free trade pact with Albania since mid-2003.