Croatia must immediately revoke the discriminatory policies which have endangered the economic interests of producers and exporters from the region, it was announced after a ministerial meeting of four countries in the region in Sarajevo regarding the Rulebook about Inspectional Control and Control of Compliance of Fruit and Vegetables with the Market Standards of the Republic of Croatia, which increased the tax for an inspection control from 12 Euros to 270 Euros.
At the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mirko Sarovic, ministers of trade from BiH, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia met in the building of the Parliament of BiH and discussed a joint response to Croatia’s decision.
Mirko Sarovic, Rasim Ljajic, Dragic Sekulic and Ljupco Nikolovski signed a joint letter which will be sent to the European Commission during the day and called on Croatia to immediately cease the discriminatory practices. They demanded that the cost of the controls reflect the real costs of the procedure and be harmonized with the costs in neighboring countries and those of the EU.
They also requested an emergency meeting with the Croatian minister due to these effects by the end of the week since they wish to escape the worst scenario, which is a series of measures and counter-measures.
They called on the European Commission to get involved in solving this problem in accordance with the provisions of the SAA and said that each country will undertake necessary measures and mechanisms which it deems to be necessary.
Besides that, it was agreed that such meetings would be regularly held, regardless of the topic.
The Serbian Minister of Trade Rasim Ljajic said how these measures have no justification, neither economic nor trade, and that they are not in the spirit of neighborly relations, as well as in the right direction of creating free trade in the Western Balkans.
“In the last three weeks had three entirely different explanations of these measures. The first week, they said that this was nothing new and represented and adjustment in prices with those of the EU. We figured out that this wasn’t correct. The second week, they said that they’re doing it to protect their consumers, but instead they’re protecting their industrialists since the tax was increased to 2,000 kunas but for Croats, it remained at 90 kunas. The third explanation, which offends sanity, was that this measure wasn’t a measure against the countries of the Western Balkans but against 164 countries that aren’t in the EU. Our goal isn’t a trade war, but rather the protection of our domestic production,” Ljajic said.