Kosovo Signs Free Trade Pact With Bosnia

Kosovo is now caught up the other countries in the region with regard to trade agreements.

The UN mission in Kosovo said it signed a free trade pact with Bosnia on Oct. 19, the province's fourth such deal within the Balkan region. The agreement was concluded by the UN mission on behalf of Kosovo following similar deals reached with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, UNMIK said.

Trade between the two sides would be fully liberalized from December under the deal. "This free trade agreement with Bosnia and Hercegovina is the last step for Kosovo to catch up with the countries of the region, which have established a network of bilateral free trade deals," UNMIK deputy Andreas Wittkowsky said.

"This agreement is indeed the last bilateral FTA signed under this initiative, and trade relations will be further developed under the initiative to integrate the region into an amended and enlarged Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)," Wittkowsky added.

Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since mid-1999, when a NATO bombing campaign halted a crackdown by Serbian forces against separatist ethnic Albanian rebels.Legally still a Serbian province, its future status is set to be determined by the year's end in UN-backed talks.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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