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news 10 Aug 17

Croatia to Revoke Disputed Import Fees

The Croatian government decided to revoke its decision to raise fees on imports of fruit and vegetables after being threatened with counter-measures by other countries in the region.

Danijel Kovacevic
Banja Luka
Trucks at the border between Croatia and Serbia. Archive photo: BIRN.

The Croatian government said on Thursday that it will revoke controversial Ordinance on the Increase of Import Taxes that threatened to lead to a trade war between Zagreb and neighbouring Balkan countries.

Croatia recently adopted new rules that increased fees for inspections of fruit and vegetable imports from 12 euros to 270 euros.

Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro issued an ultimatum to Croatia demanding that it revokes its decision to raise the fees within a week, or face counter-measures. 

The decision to abolish the controversial ordinance will be announced on Friday, the Croatian Agriculture Ministry said.

“With neighbouring states, it was agreed to fully normalise border controls by Friday," the ministry said in the press release.

“Furthermore, the cost of inspection fees in the environment will be analysed to ensure consumer protection and the competitive position of farmers in a way that will not interfere with trade,” it added.

On Monday, the trade ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia met at parliament in Sarajevo in an  attempt to reach a consensus on a joint response to Croatia.

They signed a joint letter to the European Commission and called on Croatia to immediately terminate what they described as discriminatory regulations.

They also demanded that the price of the inspections be in accordance with the actual cost of the procedure and with the European and regional average.

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