TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Kosovo's government says it will put a 100 percent import tax on all goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina as diplomatic tensions rise.
Wednesday's decision seems to be retaliation against what Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj said was Serbia's "aggressive campaign against Kosovo in the international stage." A day earlier, Kosovo failed to join Interpol due to what it claimed was campaigning by Serbia.
"That was a very aggressive stand from Serbia," Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj told a news conference.
The tariffs come into power immediately and do not apply to international brands produced in the two neighboring countries.
Earlier this month, Kosovo introduced a 10 percent tax on goods from Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina, both of which have not recognized Kosovo's 2008 independence.
Speaking about that previous tax, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that hiking import tariffs is a policy "from the 17th century."
Despite simmering tensions between Serbia and Kosovo, business ties have grown and Serb imports to Kosovo amount to about 400 million euros ($460 million) a year, while Kosovo's exports to Serbia are much lower.
Kosovo and Serbia have been in European Union-mediated negotiations for seven years. The EU has told the two sides they must normalize relations as a precondition to entering the bloc. Vucic has said that Serbia would not take part in the talks until Kosovo lifts the recently- introduced taxes.
"It is 20 years since the war, 10 years from independence, and Serbia has not shown the good will to normalize ties," said Haradinaj.