Regional countries to meet to discuss Croatia's move

The Serbian government has sent a note to the Croatian government and the EC following Zagreb's decision to step up control of agricultural imports.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

Tanjug reported this on Wednesday, citing Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

Beta said, citing N1, that the letter reads:

"This unilateral non-tarrif barrier directly affects long-term trade agreements of Serbian, Montenegrin and Bosnia-Herzegovina suppliers of fruit and vegetable exports to Croatia. Consequently, the producers and traders from these countries outside the EU, which are in the process of accession to the EU, are placed in an unequal position by the significant increase in the final price of the given products."

The letter added that the "extremely damaging measure" was not in the spirit of the formulation and sense of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and the countries in question, and added:

"We hope that you will take all the possible steps in your jurisdiction to help resolve this issue, in the spirit of the principle of a free market economy and the EU's readiness to contribute to economic reforms in the referenced countries and deeper economic integration of the Western Balkans as a whole."

Speaking in Podgorica, Montenegro, Brnabic said that the Serbian government is talking to other countries affected by the decision "so that we can act jointly on the issue."

Beta said it was told by Ministry of Trade officials that Sarajevo would on July 7 host a meeting at which representatives of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro will review the non-customs barriers introduced by Croatia for the import of agricultural products from Serbia and other non-EU countries.

The goal of the meeting is to take a joint stand on Croatia's measures, the agency said, quoting the ministry's officials.

Meanwhile, the Belgrade daily Politika writes that Croatia "does not think it violated the SAA." Croatia also denies introducing non-tariff barriers, referring to the measure instead as "inspection control fees, that are not excessive."


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