Serbia: Duty-free export of fruits and vegetables to EU for another five years
In addition to apples, plums, and sweet corn, the Western Balkans will be able to export potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, grapes, apricots, cherries, sour cherries, nectarines, peaches, strawberries, nuts, melons, and various citrus fruits duty-free.
The EU’s decision on the Autonomous Trade Measures (ATM), renewed every five years, was adopted by the European Parliament and ratified by the Council of the EU at the proposal of the European Commission.
It was published in the Official Journal of the EU, and it came into force on Dec 22,2020.
According to the decision, the current trade benefits for the export of products not covered by the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and those for which the SAA stipulations are less favorable will be in effect until the end of 2025.
The measures provide valuable support to the regional economy beyond the bilateral free trade agreements with the Western Balkans.
The measures represent nearly €24 million in duties saved and will be particularly helpful for smaller farmers.
According to the ATM, the possibility of exporting an additional 30 thousand hectoliters of wine a year is extended for wine producers in the region once the quotas that the EU has approved for each Western Balkan country individually are used up.
Following the introduction of new electronic services on the E-Government portal, through the E-Paper programme, the first 27 fully digitalized services for issuance of permits, licenses and consents have become available to Serbian businesses.
The digitalized procedures include, among others, entry into the registry of distributors and importers of plant nutrition agents, approval of plant protection agent registration, entry into the registry of producers of seeds, seedlings and mycelia of edible and medicinal mushrooms, as well as into the registry of producers of plant nutrition agents and soil conditioners.
The procedures are much quicker and cheaper now, representatives of the Office for eGovernment, the Secretariat for Public Policies and the Administration for Plant Protection said at the press conference.
The Serbian Association of Employers (UPS) announced yesterday that it was satisfied with the decision of the Government of Serbia to distribute the quotas for the import of wine from the European Union in line with the preferential rates for 2021, because, according to them, it puts the market in order and enables fair competition.
The UPS say that this decision made by the government restricts the quantity of wine that a single importer can import, which was a subject of dispute in the past period, the German retailer Lidl used majority of duty-free quota in 2020.
The quotas for the import of wine are set per quarters.
In the first three quarters of 2021, a single importer can import a maximum of 15% of the total quarterly quota.
The final quarter is exempt from this decision.
If a single importer has not reached 15% of the quarter
y quota in the previous trimester, the amount is added to the maximum 15% in the next quarter. ■