Prishtinë, September 6, 2018 – The Stabilization and Association Agreement is the first contractual agreement between the Republic of Kosovo and European Union and its impact is directly seen in the private sector enterprises’ business activity in the country. Despite its significant importance in the country’s economic development, businesses are still little informed on the benefits and procedures of this agreement. This was the main conclusion from the presentation of the study on SAA conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, project financed by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), managed by Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF).
Arian Zeka, AmCham Executive Director, said that the Stabilization and Association Agreement is important not only that it is the first contractual agreement between Kosovo and European Union, but also in offering new possibilities in exports for producers in Kosovo. He said that the American Chamber of Commerce has been committed on SAA since its negotiations phases by offering its recommendations to the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Kosovo. He added that the agreement is being utilized by the trade companies which is reflected in the foreign trade statistics, respectively in imports from EU countries.
Whereas, Fatmir Curri, Program Director for Fund Forwarding at Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), said that the aim of this project has been to identify problems and challenges that businesses face in applying this agreement. He thanked AmCham for its help and seriousness shown in conducting this study.
Visar Hapçiu, Head of AmCham’s Economic and Research Institute, presented the findings of the survey conducted with 500 businesses in 7 regions of Kosovo which analyzed businesses’ level of knowledge on SAA, and the impact the agreement has had so far in their operations. He informed the attendants that the surveyed businesses are satisfied with the reforms in the fiscal environment and also the customs procedures. He mentioned as concerning the fact that the number of businesses that are informed about SAA is very low, thus concluding that more should be done in increasing the public-private dialogue, i.e. the competitiveness capacity for enterprises.
Bedri Hamza, Minister of Finance, praised AmCham for the study saying that such publications help us address issues that could positively impact business operations. He added that the recommendations given by business associations have helped in adequate implementation of new reforms in fiscal policies which have facilitated the process of doing business in Kosovo. He also mentioned the development of new laws, such as the law on corporate income tax and personal income tax, adding that the Ministry he leads will work continuously in other incentives for the business community.
Kujtim Gjevori, Chair of AmCham Manufacturing Committee, said that increasing the dialogue between the private and the public sector will result in protection of domestic products in international markets. He presented the priorities identified by the AmCham manufacturing committee in this regards, adding that domestic producers’ difficulties should be further addressed in order to create new jobs and increase exports as well.