BLACE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia ended at midnight Saturday a ban on imports of wheat and flour from Kosovo that had prompted its Balkan neighbor to retaliate.
Kosovo reciprocated the gesture by lifting its blanket ban on Macedonian imports also at midnight (2200 GMT), according to Kosovo media. Trucks and passenger vehicles were seen crossing the border freely early Sunday. Macedonian officials at the border crossing said that fees imposed by Macedonia on Kosovar visitors and their vehicles had also been rescinded.
Vice Premier for Economic Affairs Vladimir Pesevski and Economy Minister Valon Saraqini were at the border crossing in Blace, 12 miles (19 kilometers) northwest of the capital Skopje, at midnight to make sure that the free flow of goods, people and services between Macedonia and Kosovo had resumed.
Media in Kosovo reported earlier that the country's trade ministry said that Kosovo would lift its ban on Macedonian goods simultaneously. Pesevski announced the lifting of the import ban Saturday afternoon, saying the decision was taken late Friday.
The trade dispute began in July when the Macedonian government banned cheap wheat and flour imports from a number of countries, including Kosovo, to protect domestic output. Last weekend, Kosovo imposed its own partial ban on Macedonian imports. Macedonia responded with a border tax on Kosovar travelers and their vehicles, and last Sunday Kosovo imposed a blanket ban on Macedonian imports.
Kosovo is Macedonia's second-largest export market, after Germany, worth $392 million last year.