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Breakthrough on free trade agreement between Kosovo and FYR Macedonia

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UNMIK/PR/1381

PRISTINA - Under the leadership of PDSRSG Larry Rossin, Kosovo's Minister for Trade and Industry, Bujar Dugolli, and Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Mincho Jordanov, a high level political meeting achieved a breakthrough comprise allowing for the conclusion of an Interim Free Trade Agreement between UNMIK/Kosovo and the Macedonian Government yesterday in Pristina. The meeting concluded a series of negotiations rounds on the future trade relations that started in December 2004. The outcome is a fair deal for both sides and will be put into force in the coming days.

In their remarks to reporters after the meeting, PDSRSG Rossin and the Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Jordanov praised the agreement as a joint success that will boost good-neighbourly relations between the two parties and provide a positive signal for the whole region. Minister Dugolli additionally pointed out the benefits that both parties will gain from the agreement.

The Interim Free Trade Agreement will be implemented in the very near future, after both sides finalised the necessary formalities.

The Agreement foresees that customs duties on the movement of goods between Kosovo and FYR Macedonia remain abolished for the large part of goods. A few temporary exceptions are set out in the industrial and agricultural annexes, in order to support Kosovo producers to develop their business. For these exemptions, customs duties will be gradually reduced over a transitional period ending on 31 December 2007.

The Agreement between Pristina and Skopje is the second agreement of this sort. The first Free Trade Agreement was signed in July 2003 between UNMIK/Kosovo and Albania.