The purpose of this study is to give a clear picture of the development of Albania's foreign trade in a long time from the 16th century to the present day. It will also address the features of each period and the most important trade agreements. Given the favorable geographic position Albania has had trade relations with a large number of states but these relations have greatly influenced the policies pursued by our country over the years. Albania's foreign trade liberalization was not an immediate process and act. This process initially started with breaking the state monopoly on foreign trade, which was initiated by the privatization and overall liberalization of the economy, initially from the legal point of view to that of the laws adopted by the democratic parliament, and then gradually being implemented by the side of executive power.
The causes that make international trade cooperation necessary are related to: uneven distribution of production factors, changes in taste and consumption, economies of scale, absolute and realistic output advantages, climate factors, economic and geographical proximity, international transfer technology, international labor migration, and so on. States that transformed their power from communism to democracy faced such economic problems that are solved during the economic transition period. One of them is Albania, which still seems to have been hostage to the transition process. Another important point of this topic will be the relations between Albania and Kosovo. How did they walk? How would a customs union affect the development between the two countries? Has the development of the nation's path awaited the development of trade relations? How is the level of exports and imports between them? These will be some of the points that will be answered in this study.
Key words: Albania, Cooperation, Economic Development, Kosovo, Trade
Developing trade from the first trading relationship to the communist era
1.1 The beginnings of foreign trade development in Albania
Ever since the nineteenth century. The XVI Bazaar of Elbasan, Shkodra, Prizren and Berat had 900 stores each, while Skopje counted 2 150 stores. These data show that Albania had the most developed Balkan markets. In addition to shops and bezants, open markets were opened in the Albanian cities for the sale of agricultural, livestock and handicraft products. XVIII, as a result of the general development of handicrafts and agriculture, the Albanian market grew. This market was permeated by a major caravan road connecting the Albanian coast with Western Europe and the inner Balkan areas. The foreign trade regiment was also helped by the conclusion of the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire of Venice in 1502 and the conclusion of trade agreements with France, the Netherlands, England (1535), guaranteeing freedom of navigation and trade in the Ottoman lands. These agreements, called "capitulations", had power over Albanian lands, where regular economic ties with Western countries were greatly weakened.
The main purpose of economic relations with the West was the sale of surpluses of agricultural and livestock products, which were not consumed in the country or processed. Industrial goods for production and consumption were purchased against them, among which a place of great importance was the luxury items bought mainly by the aristocracy. Albanian coastal cities like Vlora and Shkodra were declared "open doors". In the Albanian cities, they started to look like Venetian merchants, Ragusa, etc., who sold foreign goods like fabric, cloth, processed leather, etc., and bought grain, salt, pouches, wool, leather, wax, lumber etc. Albanian products also attracted the attention of Venetian, Ragudian, and Florentine foreign traders. In this way, a variety of aristocracy requirements with luxury items began to be met. The largest volume of trade and transit in the 20th century. XVI was carried on the scaffolds of Vlora, Durrës and Lezha. Foreign or local foreigners brought goods that were exchanged with gold and silver coins and Albanian agricultural and livestock products. But this increased volume of imports could not be consumed in the country.
Therefore, since the nineteenth century. XVII, Albanian merchants were directed inside the Balkan Peninsula. Here they sold the surplus of imported goods, for which they bought agricultural and livestock products as well as handicrafts they sold in the western market. Along with Albanian merchants, other Balkan merchants also began doing this activity. At the end of the century. XVII on the Durrës scaffolding, which was the main scaffold of the country, there were about one hundred Albanian merchants from Shkodra, Elbasan, Voskopoja and Janina, as well as merchants from neighboring villages from Thessaloniki and so on. All of these trades mainly with Venice. By the second half of the century. XVII also grew transit trade, in which, besides Shkodra and Vlora, a first-hand importance was gaining Durrës. In transit trade Durres was successfully competing with Thessaloniki and, after Ragusa, was an important venue for trading on the eastern Adriatic coast. Domestic and foreign traders had their warehouses in this port where they collected goods from Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia, which they sent to Venice, Messina, Ancona and other cities of Italy where their representatives were.
At the beginning of the century. The XVIII century Albanian exports were directed to most of the Venetians. Behind him was Ancona, the Ragusa and France. The most renowned Albanian merchants had organized a network of commercial agencies, such as those of capitalist countries. This network stretched not only along the Adriatic coast, but up to France, Vienna and Budapest. The main items of Albanian trade were wool, wax, silk and silk. Albanian wool went to Central Europe. The ratio between export and import of this period shows that Albania had then an active balance in foreign trade.
1.2 Developing foreign trade after the declaration of Independence
A study undertaken by Iljaz Fishta and Veniamin Toçi (Economic Situation of Albania, 1912-1944) recognizes the difficult political, economic, social conditions etc. in which the country was speaking with the language of survival. The situation was extremely heavy. There was a serious lack of food. Objectively, the victory of independence and the creation of the Albanian state should help to develop the national market, but this was not achieved. Indispensable was the creation of the first Albanian institutions. In addition to other state-building tasks, the Albanian government took steps to set up the National Bank. The Ministry of Finance, led by Abdi Toptani, immediately formed, abolished the capitulation system and established its own legal and fiscal sovereignty. It set the customs tariff on the basis of tariffs, specific to the type of goods. This measure had a fiscal purpose: to add customs duties on imported products, to increase customs duties and incomes. Minister Toptani continued with legal measures, acting also with customs duties as before, ie. 11% above the value of goods that were imported and 1% above the value of the goods being exported. So it was maintained in force, the "ad valorem system". He changed the import duty on tobacco, which he added provisionally to 30%, by an order signed by himself, with no. 472, dated July 15, 1913. With Albania's secession from Turkey in 1912, as in all other areas, the Albanian customs administration continued its operation on the basis of a legally approved customs legislation. With new laws imposed for customs operations, the customs tax was 11% above the value of imported goods and 1% above the value of those exported. At the time of the temporary government in Vlora, in the years 1912-1913, no other change was made on these customs taxes, except for the import duty on tobacco, which at that time increased to 30%, which was done with an order of the Ministry of Finance of that time, but which did not say on which law was based. While for the period 1913-1914, when the government of Durres was in force, although all official notices of customs duties are missing, it is known that nothing was changed from that of 1912-1913. So until 1914 no changes were made to the customs provisions.
1.3 Foreign trade during the years 1920-1944
The period between the Lushnja Congress in 1920 and the establishment of Zog's rule in January 1925 is a time of democratic chaos. At this time, the country began to maintain regular statistics on foreign trade, as well as the general census of the population. The registered foreign trade represented a significant increase. The economic and administrative life seems to work. In the years 1920-1921 import taxes were increased and export taxes were abolished and the export taxes were canceled in order to protect domestic production but also for fiscal purposes. In this period came laws and orders to ban the export of gold, silver, brass and grain. The first customs law came out in 1922 and this year the first Albanian customs tariff was created. During the '20 -'24 period, Albania recognized an increase in export volume. According to the data, the amount of foreign trade liabilities was equal to 64,574 gold francs. Exports in five years (total figure) accounted for about 30% of imports. Imports were detected in more than two-thirds. In this period imports per capita amounted to 22.1 gold francs, while exports to 6.5 gold francs.
One of the important aspects of Zog's rule of time is about the fiscal regime. After the 1920s, the custom office was set up in Vlora (Customs Director), Korca (Director of Oktara), Shkodra and Lezha with the Head of Customs. The latter, in 1920, moved to Durrës and then to Tirana. It headed by Ahmet Boriçi and functioned independently of the Ministry of Finance was abolished in 1923. Since 1920, when the government came out of the Lushnja Congress until 1934 (when it was made author Haxhi Shkoza's study), the Albanian national administration, along with the development of all its activities in different branches of the economy, was also involved in the organization of the customs system. First, specific provisions were made on exports of cereals and other products of domestic products, which were sometimes made by Council of Ministers' decisions and by special decrees and laws issued by the government (in cases where the country needed bread due to lack of cereals). But when the products were good and they met all the needs of the country, the farmers sold the cereals to the merchants and exported them outside. From 1912 to 1939, the Albanian customs legislation came constantly improving, reaching the most advanced states of the West. That made our country's trade with foreign countries at that time unprecedented. This continued in the war years 1939-1944, as Italy, for propaganda purposes, liberalized trade with Albania, making it possible for our country to flood wholesale goods. As a result, the phrase "Abundant as in Italy's time" is still remembered today. Trade was the main area of the Albanian economy. During this period the circulation of goods increased. Mainly agricultural and livestock raw materials were exported. Many Italian, English, French and American companies began to be present in the Albanian market and through the provision of concession agreements or through direct investments that started their activity. In 1925, the National Commercial Bank of Albania was created, which was granted with Italian concession. Also in this year was the company SVEA (Society for Economic Development of Albania) which would give Albania a loan worth 50 million gold francs.
During the period of '25 -'28, the Albanian state also increased its expenditures considerably. Another aspect that strengthened Italy's position was the Cruise Trade Treaty, which gave the state the status of "the most favored nation". This legalized the Italian monopoly in foreign trade. In 1931, Albanian agriculture was affected by a major drought, which had serious consequences on the supply of bread to the population. In 1932, as a result of this situation, about 33% more grain and maize were imported. The 30s-34 crisis is distinguished in many ways: the percentage of the population living with non-agricultural labor was reduced from 15.9% in 1930 to 15.4% in 1938. Albanian exports rose from 2 million gold francs to 12 million between 1923 and 1931, but fell in the following two years at 1923. The difficult state reached its peak in the years 1935-36, when the government was forced to distribute emergency food aid to poorer areas.
Countries that bought Albanian goods set a tariff for cheese imports, while traditional walnut butter markets in Greece and Turkey were overwhelmed by the Soviet Union's undercutting food prices. The crisis also affected livestock, which accounted for 70% of the total export of the country. The so-called "tax-deductible tax", which was set up for head / cattle, also had a significant impact. In 1933, the state reduced the tax by 50%. In 1934, the sale price of cereals reached the lowest level in about 7.5 gold francs. The sharp decline in prices, mainly agricultural and livestock, was also influenced by the Monetary Policy and the lending of the National Commercial Bank. In the crisis years, the bank reduced the amount of currency in circulation and deepened deflation. Artificially increased the value of the frang and made the products have the lowest price. In mid-35s, Albania entered a stage of perpetuation. The industry regained itself. Bird created some fiscal facilities especially for the cement plant, which was excluded from taxes for three years. During 1931-1936, foreign capital, especially the Italian, dictated to the Albanian governments the conclusion of a customs union agreement. This union, at that time, would include the Albanian economy in the Italian economy system and the unstoppable opening of Italian capital.
The Customs Union would directly affect the interests of the newly created Albanian bourgeoisie. But even the state budget would be deprived of an important source of income, such as customs. At the same time the dependence of Albanian and Italian finances increased. Bird officially accepted this agreement, but then refused. In 1938, a widespread activation of national capital was observed in the industry. In this period, the number of enterprises reached 244, while the number of employees was 7,435. Industrial production grew, while agriculture was in arrears. During the period of '36 -'38, the economy was perceived. Trade reached 32.7 million gold francs, up 65%. Export rose by 61.5%, while imports by 67.3%. Exports in '38 represented 66.3% of the level in 1928. During the '36 -'38 period, the state budget grew. At this time, Albania had trade and economic relations with 21 countries, but the most developed ones were in the first place with Italy and then with Yugoslavia, France, Germany, Greece, etc. Introduced on the path of capitalist development much later than other European countries, despite the presence of some mostly Italian foreign capitals, Albania had not yet taken any step towards the stage of industrial capitalism at the time of the outbreak of World War II.
1.4 Economic exchanges during communism
From the 1945s to the 1990s, Albania had economic exchanges with powerful countries of the world, receiving concrete assistance equal to 50% of budget needs. By the 1980s, the five-year plans based the projections and objectives on the promised aids by the next ally. During this period Albania has had alliances with Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and China. Unlike what happened to Western countries, trade was done through commodity exchanges. Being a country with higher importing needs than exporting capacity, Albania was unable to make equal exchanges and was obliged to receive commodity and aid within one year and repayment would be done for commodity but extended over several years due to of productive impossibility. Mineral resources, mainly chrome, have been the main commodity of the exchange that Albania used in trade exchanges.
In the 1960s and 1975s, about 60-70% of the Albanian foreign trade developed only with China. After the Second World War and by the late 1970s, Albania's main foreign trade partners were the former socialist countries. After the breach of the relationship with B.S. in 1961, China became the main partner and injected into considerable capital Albania, which financed large deficits in the Balance of Payments during the 1960s and 1970s. After 1978, Albania's relations with other countries changed significantly with the implementation of the policy of support to the forces its own and the ban on foreign loans. Cooling relations with China and their ultimate breakthrough in 1978, instead of stimulating the search for other partners in the country, was transformed into a total autarchy. Starting in 1976, in the name of "preserving political and economic independence" and "relying on our strengths", three restrictions of an exclusively ideological nature were adopted: in support of Article 28 of the Constitution of the country, debt from abroad; were drastically limited to all imports, "except those considered absolutely necessary for economic development and social needs"; some of the world's most developed countries "qualified as capitalist, revisionist or zionist" such as the United States, England, the Soviet Union, Israel, South Africa, Federal Germany, etc., were expelled from the trade relations agenda.
During the decade of 1980 - 1990 trade is oriented towards convertible currencies. The current account deficit in convertible currencies was small and was financed by the reduction of accumulated reserves during the 1970s, while the current account in the nonconversible currency was more or less balanced. During this period the trade balance is also helped by international conjunctures and virtually Albania does not create debts. The wrong economic policy, coupled with the droughts of these years, the manufacturing problems, production technology and the outdated industry caused a decline in exports and increased imports. The prospect of exports is even exacerbated in the markets of Eastern Europe.
The 80s of the last century were characterized by very low rates of economic development and by the end of this decade the economy suffered a sharp decline. Production showed significant deficits, exports fell sharply, balance of payments deepened the chronic deficit, economic enterprises worked under the capacity, mostly because of the shortage of supplies, paid workers by 80% of wages while not working, agriculture marked a drastic decline production and supply, food rationing was set; enterprises or agricultural cooperatives for lack of solvency blocked each other, the budget deficit grew by galloping steps. These and other jams led to a complete collapse of the country's economy. The years 1985-1992 were the years of a rapid and pronounced decline in output, large macroeconomic imbalances, internal and external, of a general disorder in the direction and infrastructure, the destruction of foreign exchange reserves and the creation of the country's external debt. In 1989, the country's total production was halved, while both industrial and agricultural production declined sharply. The production of cereals decreased in the second half of the 1980s.
Thus, Albania from an exporting country of agricultural and livestock products turned into a country that, at a very high degree, depended on critical and urgent relief from abroad. The effects of this situation were immediately reflected in the unemployment indicators which experienced a significant growth especially in the industry. The change of the economic and social system that took place in the early 1990s was accompanied by the beginning of changes in the structure of the economy. Instead of completely state-owned and cooperative property at the beginning of the transition, today we have reversed its reports. Completely privatized the land and 80-90% of the other property is private.
Developing foreign trade and its steps after isolation
2.1 Foreign trade indicators after changing the system
Balance of payments and exchange rate policy. The political and economic reforms of the 1990s and 1991s deepened the current deficit in convertible currencies, reflecting the deterioration of the conjuncture but also the significant increase in the volume of imports with convertible currencies. The large trade deficit in non-convertible currencies in 1990 reflects on the one hand the fundamental changes in Eastern European export markets and, on the other hand, a change in the direction of exports from the non-convertible currency to convertible currencies as a result of the need for pressing for currency. Deficits in the general balance of payments were financed by the almost complete depletion of foreign exchange reserves, external borrowing, overdue liabilities and interbank borrowing, as well as non-execution of Forex contracts. So Albania is faced with a relatively large external debt and difficult to restructure, which together with that in unconverted currency in June 1991 amounts to about USD 500 million (30% of GDP). External sector reforms focused mainly on lifting legal restrictions on credit and foreign investment and a partial liberalization of foreign trade and foreign exchange. In June 1990, the decrees for the protection of foreign investments and joint ventures were approved. Bilateral investment agreements with different countries are signed. The Foreign Investment Agency is established to promote foreign investment and to review proposals for them. In August 1990, the foreign trade monopoly was abolished after the privatization decision. Export-import liberalization is liberalized, with the exception of some licensed goods and exports of food items that were largely lacking in the market.
Since 1991, all 37 foreign trade and bilateral deals are held in dollars. There are no more differentiated exchange rates for commercial and non-commercial transactions. In September 1991, the official exchange rate depreciated with the US dollar at 25 ALL/USD from 10 ALL/USD in early 1991. Loss of control over foreign exchange reserves and their almost complete depletion forced the monetary authorities to devalue the administration further lek to 50 lek/USD in January 1992. During this time the volume of transactions in the parallel market grows high. The exchange rate in this market is determined by market forces and goes to depreciation from 40-43 lek/USD at the beginning of November 1991 to 78-81 lek/USD in February 1992. In July 1992, the exchange rate policy the exchange rate varies. The implementation of the flexible exchange rate regime begins and the Lek depreciates at a rate of 220%, from 50 to 110 ALL/USD. The end of 1992 closed with a 98.88 lek/USD exchange rate. During 1992, a current account deficit of USD 405.6 million was created, which is USD 157 million higher than in 1992. But on the other hand, it seems clear that the speed with which deficits of previous years have been created has not increased external debt, foreign exchange reserves of the banking system have grown and the private sector's share in "world" transactions has a very high growth rate.
Trade Balance. The economic development of 1993 marked an expansion in the volume of foreign trade. Exports rose 60 percent and imports 4.6 percent. Export growth faced an import surcharge, reducing the trade deficit of 1993 to $ 15 million. This year's trade balance records a deficit of 490 million USD and excluding aids, the deficit amounts to 354 million USD. Albania out of the foreign trade deficit that created during the year 93, 72 per cent was facing itself against 20 per cent in 1992. The economic growth of 1993 resulted in the reduction of the trade deficit ratio with the domestic product (GDP) to 44 per cent, while in 1992 this ratio was 76.5 per cent. Production growth improved better market failures and domestic demand, led to an immediate drop in imports, and a rapid growth in export volumes. With regard to foreign trade seasonality, the 35 percent increase in imports in the second half of the year caused the 43 percent growth in trade deficit to reach the first six months.
Export. The economic development of 1993 is reflected in the growth of USD 42 million or 60 percent of exports reaching USD 112 million. From their performance, only exports of the first quarter of 1993 are as high as those of the first six months of 1992 and peaked at 35 million USD in the last quarter. The year 1993 also marked a significant change in the structure of exports. The dominance of non-agricultural exports dominates, which accounts for 80 percent of the total compared to last year, where they accounted for 58.2 percent. Structural changes also dominate within this group of goods in favor of the light industry with the processing of goods with first import goods, which make up 17.85 percent of the total export. By contrast, a significant drop of 22.1 percent compared to 1992 was due to exports of minerals, metals, electricity and fuels. Although exports of chromium were increased, their value further increased in 1993 by USD 1 million compared to 1992 and 14 million less than the forecast at the beginning of the year. The decrease of the price of chromium in the competition market due to large quantities in it and the embargo on Serbia are the main reasons that caused this downturn. Copper exports were about 5.1 million USD exports, or 2.8 million USD more than in 1992, with an increase of 250 percent compared to the previous year. Significant reductions compared to 1992 have led to export of energy (from 24.4 percent to 4.1 percent or $ 9.4 million to 40 percent). This has affected not only the lower prices of foreign importers, but also the increase of domestic energy consumption as a result of investments in the energy system. Data show a drop in exports of agricultural origin during 1993, by 20.8 per cent compared to 1992, although agricultural and livestock production rose 14 per cent this year. Tobacco and its products retain the leading position in these exports by 32.2 percent of the total value of these groups of goods. In exports realization during 1993 the main partners as well as in 1992 continued to remain European Community countries such as Italy (45.1 per cent ), Greece (19.7 per cent), Belgium (6.6 per cent), Germany (4.7 per cent), France (2 per cent), and together account for 80 per cent of the export market.
Imports. Import of goods, during 1993, increased by USD 27 million or 4.7 percent compared to 1992. However, its growth rates fell by 5 percent and the main reason for this was the economic growth reflected in the growth of the domestic product (GDP) by 11 percent. Private-funded imports during 1993 accounted for about 50 percent of their total versus 40 percent in 1992. The value of imports, excluding subsidies during 1993, amounted to USD 466 million, marking a significant fall in imports-aid (from USD 348 million to USD 136 million) by 2.5 times compared to 1992. By classifying imports by country structure the main food store and tobacco store again with 26.5 percent. Despite this, the pace of imports of food products has decreased 1.4 times compared to 1992 as a result of the normal functioning of the agricultural sector. During 1993, imports of foodstuffs amounted to 26.5 percent to 43 percent in 1992. Land division positively contributed to overall production growth, while changes in its cereal-oriented structure (52 percent of the planted area) led to a decline in their import, mainly wheat, which was the main country in the year 1992.
Transport vehicles are relocated to second with 19.4 percent of the total. Machinery and equipment as a dissatisfactory investment indicator have dropped dramatically during 1993 with 13.8 percent to 26.3 percent in 1992. Imports of metals and their products account for 4 percent of imports. Imports to various industry branches, at 78 percent, were funded from external sources such as loan aid and only 22 percent had the source of domestic financial funds. The most important feature of them was the destination oriented to the active production sectors for more efficient use purposes. Developments in the Albanian economy showed an ever greater orientation of the development of trade in general with the western countries where the main supplier of its are the European Community countries (76.6 percent of imports).
2.2 Albania's foreign trade developments during the transition period
Overview of the external trade situation. The first years of transition faced Albania's economy with powerful challenges and changes. Like any other sector of the economy, the foreign trade sector underwent deep and intensive liberalization processes, which at the same time presented the need for policy-making and efficient foreign trade reforms. Albania began liberalizing foreign trade in the second half of 1992, eliminating, almost entirely, trade barriers. An Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between Albania and the European Union (EU) was signed since 1991, granting our country the status of the most favored country (GSP). Since 1992, Albania applied for membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), pursuant to Article XII of the WTO Agreement Establishment. The agreement on Albania's accession to this organization was signed on 17 July 2000, the date on which our country is officially a full member. Since 1994, developments in Albania's foreign trade have generally been characterized by growing trade flows, a fact which indicates an opening and intensification of trade exchanges of the Albanian economy and markets with world economies and markets. The growth rate of trade flows has been intermittent from time to time, reflecting the main developments in the Albanian economy as well as the impact of various international and regional factors. Although exports have improved their contribution to trade flows, they are still out of the value of imports. The impact of exports on trade volume remains very low, although in some periods it is noted that the growth in exports is greater than the increase in imports. The continuing trade deficit has accompanied developments in foreign trade in the form of a chronic illness. The current upward trend in the negative trade balance for many years indicates that the market's needs and purchasing power has been relatively high, mainly due to remittances from the Albanian labor market, and to many financial aids and loans I entered our country. In this context and beyond, the analysis of foreign trade indicators is of particular importance in explaining trade as they express in general and specific terms the economy's orientations, its achievements, the degree of dependence on the international market, the opportunities and the advantages offered by the national market etc.
It is known the past of the Albanian economic system. It is a command economy, which the state itself directed and organized in a centralized and controlled manner. During these 18-year post-communism, much has been said about the consequences of this system, but it is important to understand the gap created between the national economy and the world economy. The Albanian economy was locked in its shell, not allowing its continued appreciation and revaluation in the world market. Numerous market failures for first-aid products, rationing systems especially for groceries, price fixing at planned levels, centralized and inefficient resource allocation, etc., were some of the features of the economy in the centralized system. Given these features, it clearly distinguishes the purpose which was not competition in the international market, even with the birthplace. In this way, we can not claim for a real profit from trade. While in an open market economy, economic development is oriented through competition and providing comparative advantages to the outside.
For the Albanian economy, too delicate and market-oriented, the identification of sectors that would form the basis for sustainable growth of the economy and the adoption of appropriate development policies in their support constituted an absolute necessity and an absolute priority. foreign trade in Albania began in 1992/1993, through the elimination of the state monopoly on exports and imports. The process of opening up and liberalizing trade began as a relatively intense process compared to other Balkan countries. Under these conditions, young players, with other points of view oriented to the primary market needs, became part of the game. Imports changed both from the quantitative and structural point of view. Albanian imports started to focus more on consumer imports, while exports were almost fading. The reform affected the foreign exchange market as well. Since 1992, current account transactions began to be carried out in foreign currencies, and began to operate based on flexible exchange rates. The liberalization of the tariff regime was initially the same and with low tariff rates. Subsequently, in terms of limited output from the manufacturing sector and rising expenditure, Albanian governments tried to offset the budget deficit by different paths, one of which was the establishment of a more protective customs regime. For this reason, the tariff structure of the mid-1990s was characterized by a more complex and more protective composition. After 2000, it was simplified on the basis of parameters required by the WTO and was characterized by further tariff cuts. Also, the reform of this period in the trading regime consisted in the elimination and reduction of many non-tariff barriers, such as: quantitative restrictions on exports and imports. So, it can be said that while Albania was on the verge of WTO membership, its tariff regime was significantly liberalized. Following WTO membership, Albania further deepened the liberalization of its tariff regime, on the basis of the required standards. Furthermore, Albania has been involved since the early 1990s even in the process of European integration. This integration is the basic instrument to facilitate and accelerate the overall and sustainable development of the country. For Albania, the aspiration for EU candidacy was initially preceded by the Association process, more precisely formulated as the Stabilization Association (PAS) process.
- Quote paper
- PhD Arjeta Hallunovi (Author), 2019, Albania's foreign trade over the years and relations with Kosovo, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/479070