Serbia firm on decision to ban export of crops

Serbia maintains its decision to ban exports of soybean, sunflower and sugar beet until the end of the year and so protect the domestic market and consumers.

Source: Tanjug

Tanjug reported on Thursday that this was confirmed by the country's Trade Ministry.

At a meeting of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) Joint Committee in Zagreb Wednesday, Croatia asked the Serbian government to revoke the decree banning export of these crops adopted on September 8.

Senior Adviser at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications Jadranka Zenić-Zeljković said that the decision by the Serbian government was in line with the CEFTA agreement and Article 11 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) statute regarding the introduction of quantitative restriction measures.

She told Tanjug that the Serbian government had every reason and justification to introduce the measure, supporting her statement by pointing out that the current year's yield of sugar beet in Serbia had decreased by 1.1 million tons or 33.4 percent against a year earlier.

Due to the reduced production of sugar beet, the transitional stocks of sugar will hit an all-time low at the end of the economic year, stressed Zenić-Zeljković.

Representatives of the two countries have already held consultations in accordance with relevant CEFTA provisions, the first time on September 21, and the second at the Joint Committee's meeting on October 24.

As no agreement was reached, the Croatian representatives have announced using other opportunities within the framework of CEFTA to persuade Serbia to annul the contested decree.

Following the failed consultations, said Zenić-Zeljković, will be mediation and arbitration proceedings.

The Serbian Trade Ministry official said, however, that a paragraph in Article 14 relevant to commercial purchase agreements pointed to a possibility of their termination.

She explained that a termination of agreement was possible in cases of unforeseen events such as natural disasters and introduction of measures by competent state authorities, pointing out that the severe drought in Serbia was exactly one such case.

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