EC discussing possible solutions to Croatia raising import fees

The European Commission is considering various mechanisms under the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) that could be applied if the trade dispute between the SAA countries and Croatia could not be resolved through negotiations, the sources at the Commission said today in Brussels.

The Commission’s spokesman stated that the EU appealed to all sides in the trade dispute between the Western Balkan countries and Croatia to exercise “restraint and avoid worsening the situation, as well as to make every effort to address the issue through consultation, and in good faith”.

The EC’s spokesman, Carlos Martinez added that the Commission still didn’t receive the letter from the four Western Balkan ministers, appealing to the Commission to intervene in the trade dispute with Croatia.

He also said that the European Commission was in contact with the governments of the countries affected by this situation, adding that the EU was assessing the situation and verifying whether Croatia’s new measures were in line with its obligations.

Serbian Agriculture Minister, Branislav Nedimovic said that, in accordance with the Stabilization and Association Agreement, Serbia had prepared a set of measures that would counter Croatia’s decision to raise the fruit and vegetable import fee by 22 times.

Croatian officials argue that the measure was imposed on 168 non-EU countries to improve the quality of the imports, and was not meant to hurt the regional neighbours’ economies — namely the Serbian, Bosnian, Montenegrin and Macedonian which are the main exporters of fruit and vegetables to Croatia.

The four countries demanded that Croatia revoke its decision to drastically raise the import fees.

According to the new rates imposed by Croatia last week, a border sanitary inspection certificate for fruit and vegetables now costs 270 euros per truck, from 12 euros previously.

Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic has been quoted as saying that the “trade war” with neighbouring countries must end this week.

According to the sources close to the Croatian government, even the Croatian Agriculture Minister, Tomislav Tolusic, who started the whole ‘affair’, says that the problem will be solved. In an interview, PM Plenkovic stated that he ordered Tolusic to find a solution by the end of this week.

(Blic, Total Croatia News, 08.08.2017)





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