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Croatia launches trade war with Serbia

Staff Writer |
Croatia sparked fury as it increased charges by up to 220 per cent for imports of fruit and vegetables.

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Ministers from EU candidates Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, as well as from fellow EU hopeful Bosnia, have issued an ultimatum to Croatia after a meeting of government officials in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

Croatian officials said the measure was imposed to improve the quality of the imports and was not intended to hurt any neighbours’ economies.

The country cited compliance with EU standards and protection of its consumers as the reason behind the import tax increase.

Serbian Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic said Croatia's neighbours do not want a trade war, but warned of retaliatory measures if Croatia does not return to the previous tax rates.

The minister said Serbia has increased its controls on organic produce from Croatia and will increase them further.

It could mean meat and dairy products are held at the border for up to 30 days.

He said: "These measures are absolutely protectionist in an economic sense. They are populist in political sense and cannot be justified, they are not in the spirit of good neighbourly relations." â– 

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