Trade Barriers and Exports between Western Balkan Countries

Open access


The aim of the paper is to identify the trade barriers imposed by the Western Balkan countries. All barriers, whether tariff or non-tariff, undoubtedly impede the normal development of trade between countries. Therefore, the paper examines merchandise trade patterns in the Western Balkan region and tries to identify the main drivers of and obstacles to intra-regional trade. Intra-regional trade comes second in importance, after trade with the European Union (EU); it underperformed and was in decline in the last few years. In the region with political challenges as the Western Balkans, non-tariff barriers significantly reduce trade exchanges between the countries in this region. Currently, the trade and political disputes (tax rate 100%) between Kosovo and Serbia showed that the imposed tariffs in trade created a political reaction between the countries, interrupting the dialogue between these countries. The originality and value of the paper are reflected in its dealing with such topics as trade barriers, genesis in ethnic and political disputes that are prominent in the Balkan region.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bechev D. Ejdus F. & Taleski D. (2015). Background paper: Culture of regional cooperation in southeast Europe. Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group. Retrieved from:

  • CEFTA Agreement. (2006). Annex 1 to: The Agreement on Amendment of and Accession to the Central European Free Trade Agreement. Retrieved from:

  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. (2003). Transition report 2003: Integration and regional cooperation. London: United Kingdom. Retrieved from:

  • European Commission. (2018). Untapped potential: Intra-regional trade in the western Balkans. European Economy-Discussion Paper 80. Retrieved from:

  • GAP Institute. (2019). The 100% tax: Is it helping or hurting Kosovo’s economy? The economic impact of the 100% tax on Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina products. Retrieved from:

  • Gashi P. & Berisha B. (2019). The impact of 100% tariff on the import of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Retrieved from: doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28941.38885

  • Group for Legal and Policy Studies. (2018). Regional Economic Zone for the Western Balkans: Wider Trade Implications and Implementation Challenges for Kosovo. Policy Analysis No. 4. Retrieved from:

  • Institute for Development Policy. (2015). Kosovo - Albania trade relations: Where are we and how to proceed? Retrieved from:

  • International Monetary Fund. (2018). GDP per capita. Retrieved from:

  • Kernohan D. (2006). Reverse Balkanisation? Trade integration in South-East Europe. CEPS Working Document No. 249. Retrieved from:

  • Kittova Z. & Steinhauser D. (2018). The international economic position of western Balkan countries in light of their European integration ambitions. Journal of Competitiveness 10(3) 51–68.

  • Klimczak L. (2016). Trade liberalization and export performance of the western Balkans. Montenegrin Journal of Economics 12(2) 57.

  • Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development. (2013). Kosovo in a regional context - economic and trade relations. Policy Analysis No. 3/13. Retrieved from:

  • Krugman R.P. Obstfeld M. & Melitz M. (2010). International economics: Theory and policy (10th Ed.). London: Pearson Education.

  • Kucharčuková O.B. Babecký J. & Raiser M. (2010). A gravity approach to modelling international trade in south-eastern Europe and the commonwealth of independent states: The role of geography policy and institutions. The Working Paper Series of the Czech National Bank. Retrieved from:

  • Levitin O. & Sanfey P. (2018). Regional cooperation in the western Balkans. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

  • Miljovski J. & Uzunov V. (2002). International and regional economic integration in south east Europe: The case of Macedonia. Balkan Observatory Working Papers 42. Retrieved from:

  • Ministry of Trade and Industry of Kosovo. (2018). Trade barriers: Facilitating trade as a means of eliminating barriers. Retrieved from:

  • Ognjenović K. & Branković A. (2011). Changes in the structure of commodity trade between the western Balkan countries and the European Union over the previous ten years. In International Center for Promotion of Enterprises Contemporary issues in the integration processes of Western Balkan countries in the European Union (pp. 192). Retrieved from:

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2019). Global south east Europe - Unleashing the transformation potential for growth in the western Balkans. Retrieved from:

  • Pere E. & Ninka E. (2017). International trade in western Balkan countries: Analysis based on the gravity model. Balkan Observatory Working Papers 126. Retrieved from:

  • Qorraj G. (2018). Towards European Union or regional economic area: Western Balkans at crossroads. Naše gospodarstvo/Our Economy 64(1) 11–17.

  • Qorraj G. (2010). Integrating the western Balkans into the European Union: Overcoming political and economic constraints European perspectives. Journal on European Perspectives of the Western Balkans 2(2) 79–92. Retrieved from:

  • Qorraj. G. & Jusufi G. (2018). The EU stabilization and association agreement for the western Balkans: Challenges and opportunities. Croatian International Relations Review 23(81) 51–68.

  • Sanfey P. & Milatovic J. (2018). The western Balkans in transition: Diagnosing the constraints on the path to a sustainable market economy. Background paper for the Western Balkans Investment Summit hosted by the EBRD. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/Soft-Tech/Downloads/western-balkans-diagnostic-paper.pdf

  • Tankosić V. J. Carić M. & Jevtić A. (2011). Could improved regional trade integration better prepare western Balkan economies for the EU single market challenges. Pregledni rad Śkola biznisa 4 Novi Sad. Retrieved from:

  • Topxhiu R. & Krasniqi F. (2017). The relevance of remittances in fostering economic growth in the western Balkan countries. Ekonomika96(2) 28–42.

  • Toševska-Trpčevska K. & Tevdovski D. (2014). Measuring the effects of customs and administrative procedures on trade: Gravity model for south-eastern Europe. Croatian Economic Survey 16 (1) 109–127.

  • Trivić J. & Klimczak L. (2015). The determinants of intra-regional trade in the western Balkans. Zb. rad. Ekon. Fak. Rij 33 (1) 37–66.

  • United States Agency for International Development. (2016). Regional trade report on free trade agreements. Regional economic growth project. United States Agency for International Development. 2016. Retrieved from:

  • World Bank (2003). Trade policies and institutions in the countries of South-Eastern Europe in the EU stabilization and association process. Regional Report No. 24460. Retrieved from:

  • World Bank Group (2017). Western Balkans: Regional economic integration issues notes. Washington DC. Retrieved from:

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 51 51 21
PDF Downloads 76 76 47