BiH minister Mirko Sarovic has sent a letter to General director of the European Commission’s Directorate for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Christian Danielsson, concerning the Ordinance on inspection and compliance control of fruit and vegetables with the marketing standards in Croatia, which provides 22 times higher fees for the inspection and control.
Sarovic pointed out in the letter that by this Ordinance, Croatia introduced a significant increase in fees for the inspection and control of compliance of fruits and vegetables with the marketing standards during importation from third countries, which now amounts to HRK 2,000 /270 Euros/ for each inspection.
“The fee that importers from third countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, used to pay during the inspection in Croatia, before introducing new Ordinance, was HRK 90 /12 Euro/ and was not a burden for our exporters,” Sarovic said in the letter.
The BiH minister of foreign trade and economic relations has emphasized that such enormously high fees defined by the new Ordinance are a burden that will significantly reduce the competitiveness of exporters from BiH and jeopardize exports of a large number of fruit and vegetables to the Croatian market.
Sarovic said that this is further complicated by the fact that the fee is paid according to the type of fruits and vegetables, so that the consignment containing several types is obliged to pay EUR 270 for each type of fruit.
“From the above mentioned, we believe that by introducing unjustifiably high fees for the inspection of fruits and vegetables from third countries, Croatia has introduced a kind of non-tariff barriers in these products trade towards third countries,” said Sarovic.
He told that by this Ordinance, Croatia has clearly placed fruit and vegetable producers and products from BiH in an unequal position in relation to the producers and products in Croatia, thereby violating international trade obligations, since the import is discriminated.
“We also noted that Croatia, as a EU member, has committed itself to respecting the Stabilization and Association Agreement, and by entering this Agreement into force, the EU and signatory states have committed themselves to abolish export duties and charges having equivalent effect in the mutual trade and that all quantitative restrictions on exports and equal effect measures will be abolished” said Sarovic.
“We are at our disposal for further information and consultation at possible European Commission’s request,” Sarovic added in a letter to Danielsson.
A few days ago, Croatia adopted measures that expanded the list of fruits and vegetables that must have undergone phytosanitary inspection at the border, and, in addition, increased the import duties on these products from non-EU countries by 22 times.