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Serbia prepares counter measures to Croatian trade barriers

Staff Writer |
In reaction to Croatia’s non-tariff barrier to imports of fruits and vegetables, Serbia began to step up control and oversight over all products of plant and animal origin originating in, or arriving from, Croatia.

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This is done with samples taken from every single shipment and extensive inspection of every single sample.

On August 10, Croatia’s Agriculture Ministry adopted a rule to eliminate the phytosanitary inspection fee that was imposed over 10 days ago. The new fee will drop from $308.50 back to the original $14.40, a levy to be charged per fruit and vegetable import shipment from Serbia and other countries.

On August 7, Serbian Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimovic announced that Serbia has prepared a set of activities and measures to counter Croatia’s recent decision to raise the fees (from $14.40 to $308.50) charged to obtain phytosanitary certificates for the import of fruits and vegetables from countries in the region.

On August 3, Serbia sent a protest note to the European Commission regarding its concern over these non-tariff barriers that are a blatant violation of the EU's Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia.

According to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, in 2016 agriculture exports from Serbia to Croatia were $90 million, of which $26 million were fruits and vegetables.

The ministers also sent a letter to the European Commission, asking the Commission to immediately react and urgently take steps for Croatia to repeal its discriminatory measures.

On August 10, it was announced that the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic tasked his Minister of Agriculture to find a solution to the current situation and to lower the problematic fees in accordance with international treaties, as soon as possible.

Due to this request Croatian officials have agreed to eliminate the increased phytosanitary fees on third-country products.

According to the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture, from Friday, August 11, phytosanitary fees will revert to the previous level of HRK 90 ($14.40) for imported fruits and vegetables.

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