Kosovo Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays

Introduction

Business negotiations with Kosovo partners are somewhat different from the style of negotiations in the Czech Republic. The main specificity is the emphasis on personal relationships and a freer perception of time. Although the Balkan region is different from our customs in many ways, these are differences that should not, in principle, prevent joint cooperation. If it is a prospective business relationship, it is advisable to visit the partner in Kosovo, or invite him to the Czech Republic.

Source: Embassy of the Czech Republic in Pristina

Addressing

We recommend obtaining or verifying a basic contact for a Kosovo business partner through the Trade Department of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Priština, or from the sources of Kosovo chambers of commerce and business associations. The first contact with the selected partner can be made via e-mail, and we recommend confirming it by phone afterwards. However, if you are contacting an unknown partner from an unverified source (unknown website, etc.), we recommend great caution. Business relations in Kosovo are very often based on family ties and personal contacts. That is why it is advisable to contact the commercial section of the embassy in good time, which can recommend the establishment of business communication and mediate, support and, if interested, organize the first meeting directly at the embassy.

Source: Embassy of the Czech Republic in Pristina

Business meeting

The Kosovo market has its own risks and, at the same time, potential for establishing long-term and reliable business cooperation. Business conditions are gradually improving, however, caution and patience are advised when entering the Kosovo market. The vast majority of Kosovo companies are small with not very strong capital background. It is therefore important to check the solvency of the Kosovo business partner in advance. Business operations with Kosovar companies should therefore be secured by e.g. advance payment, high-quality insurance, or e.g. an irrevocable letter of credit opened with a first-class bank. For large orders, it is recommended to work with insurance for orders abroad, which is provided, for example, by EGAP. As a place of first meeting, it is advisable to accept an invitation to the partner’s headquarters, which will allow you to form a basic idea of ​​the company. During the meeting, mutual introductions will take place and, depending on the circumstances, it is appropriate to express an interest in cooperation. Giving gifts at the first business meeting is not common. However, if the company’s promotional items (pencils, diaries, etc.) are involved, handing them over together with the company’s catalogs will please the partner. Strong family ties often persist in business relationships. We recommend giving your partner time to build trust and not rushing business negotiations. It is possible to gain trust and an informal relationship with Kosovar businessmen, for example, by pointing out common interests, closeness of mentality, etc. It is not out of place to praise, appreciate help with transportation from the airport, or have a conversation with your partner and his family, etc., but always with courtesy and sensitivity for privacy. If this part of the negotiation is handled well, the technical and business parts of the negotiation go much easier. Before providing hospitality, it is possible to ask whether the customer is interested in a glass of wine, etc. When proposing a price for goods and services, it must be taken into account that the customer will request a discount. Providing a discount will support the customer’s feeling that he is successful, and this will increase his interest in cooperation. We recommend giving your partner time to build trust and not rushing the deal. Casual clothing is appropriate for meetings at public institutions, less formal clothing is also possible for meetings with representatives of smaller companies. Kosovo negotiating teams tend to be predominantly male, and if we are dealing with important issues, they will be led by the company’s top representative. Usually 2-3 people take part in the negotiations from the Kosovar side. If complex technical issues are being discussed, e.g. large energy projects, etc., more people may gradually appear at the meeting, which will assess the technical, price, ecological, etc. parameters of the project. Business meetings are often very lengthy, and therefore workers who have sufficient decision-making authority should be sent to the meeting from the Czech side.

Source: Embassy of the Czech Republic in Pristina

Communication

The business environment, habits and reactions of people are not dramatically different from other European countries. Establishing business contacts generally requires more patience than is usual in our conditions. We recommend giving your partner time to build trust. Knowledge of the local language facilitates the first contact, a significant proportion of the younger Kosovar population speaks English and German, while the older ones often speak Italian and Russian. A prerequisite for success in negotiations is thorough preparation for negotiations and familiarization with the local environment. Kosovo businessmen are interested in developments in the Czech Republic. In many ways, they admire our post-war development, especially the peaceful division of the state and membership in the EU and NATO. Many Kosovar citizens have visited the Czech Republic (or former Czechoslovakia). On the contrary, it is not recommended to talk about the political situation in Kosovo and the equality of men and women. An interpreter is usually not needed during the meeting. However, if necessary, the Czech Embassy is ready to transfer the contact to a suitable interpreter. In the initial phase of communication, it is possible to use e-mail and later a telephone connection. During negotiations on fundamental points of cooperation, written confirmation of the agreed points is recommended. Personal negotiations before concluding a cooperation agreement are almost irreplaceable in Kosovo. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Kosovo culture and traditions.

Source: Embassy of the Czech Republic in Pristina

Recommendation

Entering the Kosovo market is very challenging. Most of the wholesale market is controlled by extended families who have established their distribution channels. In general, foreign firms and companies can do business in Kosovo under the same conditions as Kosovo ones. Given that business relations in Kosovo are developed on the basis of personal contacts and ties, it is recommended to use a local sales representative, or contact the Trade and Economic Department of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Kosovo, with whom to consult about entering the market. In the Republic of Kosovo, there are several thousand mostly small and medium-sized business firms that are engaged in both import and export. Some of these companies were created from pre-war foreign trade enterprises or large manufacturing enterprises. New private business firms established after the war also operate on the market, and also branches of foreign business chains. Czech companies can take advantage of the good name of Czech products, good quality and favorable prices. Unfortunately, there is still deep-rooted corruption in the business sector. In the Republic of Kosovo, there are very widespread personal and family ties, which are very difficult to penetrate. Therefore, the use of local sales representatives with good knowledge of the market is often the only option for a successful business in the field of exporting to the Republic of Kosovo. Due to the complexity and financial demands of the legal resolution of commercial disputes in the country, it is essential to have all business terms well contractually secured. Import sales representatives often demand exclusive representation for an unlimited period, which we do not recommend at the first stage of business negotiations.

Source: Embassy of the Czech Republic in Pristina

Public Holidays

Residents of Kosovo celebrate Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox church holidays regardless of religion. If a public holiday falls on a weekend, the day off is moved to the next working day.

January – New Year + also January 2;
January – Orthodox Christmas (January 7-8);
February – Independence Day (February 17-19);
April – Easter (Catholic and subsequently Orthodox) / Easter Monday (April 2);
April – Constitution Day (April 9, but the day off is usually the day the Constitution enters into force, June 15);
May – Labor Day (May 1);
May – Europe Day (May 9);
June – Muslim holidays Eid al-Fitr (June 15);
August – Muslim holidays Eid al-Adha (August 21);
November – Flag Day (November 28);
December – Christmas (December 24-26);

End of Ramadan (Íd al-Fitr, Fitër Bajrami in Albanian) – depending on the Muslim calendar;

Feast of Sacrifice (Id al-Adha, Kurban Bajrami in Albanian) – depending on the Muslim calendar;

Note: Veterans Day (March 6) and Albanian Flag Day (November 28) are not official public holidays, but they are also celebrated and are often associated with a day off.

Source: Kosovo Chamber of Commerce

Kosovo Culture of Business