Prishtina, December 30, 2018 – In the days marking the end of 2018, the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo voices its concern over the poor level of institutionalized and formal dialogue between the public and private sector, as well as over the politicization of the economic and trading relations, and the frequent interference the Government institutions and officials in the private sector.
AmCham Kosovo believes that the free trade is an important factor in enabling economic growth through increased efficiency and innovation, export opportunities and higher quality and lower priced goods for the consumers, therefore any decision to impose non-tariff or tariff barriers, is not in line with the spirit and commitments in the context of free trade agreements, as well as its commitments undertaken to advance the European integration path, regardless of the arguments that may lead to this.
The American Chamber of Commerce is aware of the difficulties in free movement of goods for Kosovo companies through non-tariff barriers that certain CEFTA countries impose, nevertheless, AmCham believes that the Agreement provides for dispute resolution provisions that may be triggered to provide for an unhindered trade between the countries.
AmCham believes that any decision on tariff and non-tariff barriers will generate negative impact for Kosovo’s economy in long-term as it will slow the economic growth and impede job creation prospects, thus overweighting any shortsighted positive impacts the decision might have.
Relating to the occasional attacks on companies and sectors of senior government officials, AmCham considers them to be a direct interference in the private sector operations, contrary to the Constitution, and respective laws of the country, which provides for a free market economy. AmCham believes that the country has sufficient legal and institutional dealing with competition, market and consumer-protection matters, whose key role is to protect the public interest, and make sure that no company, domestic or foreign, abuses its dominant positions.
The aforementioned arguments as well as low dialogue between the private and public sector may and will affect the foreign direct investments, at a time when country is in need to improve its perception before U.S. and other investors. The FDI rates in 2018, as well as the deterioration of Kosovo’s ranking in World Bank Doing Business Report are a genuine reflection of the deviation from the reformation path.
Finally, the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, urges on the Assembly, Government and independent agencies to refrain from unfounded statements, and actions that may hurt Kosovo’s European integration and good neighborly relations, and pursue its doing-business reforms that would lead to more FDI, more jobs and faster growth, having in mind that Kosovo has all the resources to become an important player in the region of Western Balkans.