Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH Mirko Sarovic sent a letter to the European Commission regarding the entry into force of the Ordinance on Inspection and Control of Compliance of Fruits and Vegetables with Market Standards in the Republic of Croatia, with which is stipulated the introduction of inspection supervision and control of a large number of fruits and vegetables that is imported from third countries, and it also established a 22 times higher fee for inspection and control of compliance of fruit and vegetables with market standards during the import from third countries.
The letter was addressed to the Director General for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Directorate, Christian Danielson.
In the letter, among others, was stated:
The Republic of Croatia introduced a new Ordinance on Inspection and Control of Compliance of Fruits and Vegetables with Market Standards, with which is stipulated the introduction of inspection supervision and control of a significantly larger number of fruits and vegetables that are imported from third countries than it used to be before. According to the provisions of this Ordinance, the Phytosanitary Inspection of the Ministry of Agriculture will control fruit and vegetables that are imported from third countries to market standards, and which are subjected only to the general market standard.
A significant increase in fees for inspection and control of the compliance of fruits and vegetables with market standards for imports from third countries was also introduced with the new ordinance, which now amounts to 2,000 HRK (270 EUR) for each inspection or conducted control and for each type of fruit and vegetables. So far, before the new Ordinance, fees paid by importers from third countries, including BiH, amounted to 90 HRK (12 EUR) and they did not represent a great burden for our exporters. However, these enormously high fees that are prescribed in the new ordnance represent a burden that will reduce the competitiveness of our exporters and even put the export of a large number of fruits and vegetables to the market of Croatia in question. The fact that the control is paid by the type of fruit and vegetables additionally complicates the situation so that for the shipment of several types, the exporter has to pay 270 EUR for each type of fruit.
From all of the mentioned, we believe that the Republic of Croatia introduced a certain kind of non-custom barrier in the trade of these products from third countries with the introduction of unjustifiably high fees for the inspection of fruit and vegetables from third countries. Also, with the aforementioned ordinance, Croatia clearly put fruits and vegetable producers from BiH, as well as the product of BiH itself in relation to producers and products in Croatia, in an unequal position, which represents a violation of international trade obligations, since imports are thus discriminated.
Considering that this is obviously about introducing non-custom barriers by the competent institutions of Croatia and different treatment of imported and domestic products and producers, we are requesting measures and actions that will lead to the urgent removal of the above-mentioned Ordinance.