Seven conclusions from the meeting of ministers in Sarajevo

Ministries of trade of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia have made seven conclusions today regarding the Croatian decision of raising the fees for inspection and control of imported fruit and vegetables, which mostly hit the countries in the region.

These are the conclusions of today’s session of ministers of the region, held in Sarajevo:

1. The Republic of Croatia is invited to emergently withdraw the discriminatory provision of the Rulebook on inspection control and control of alignment of fruit and vegetables with trade standards, introducing a different treatment for domestic products and products imported from third countries (national treatment);
2. The price of the inspection control should correspond to the actual costs of the procedure and should not be a direct protection of domestic products or indirect taxation of import. The price should be aligned with the average prices applicable to the countries in the region and in the EU;
3. An emergency meeting should be held this week with the competent ministers in the Government of the Republic of Croatia, since any additional delay of finding the solution would bring to enormous consequences for all manufacturers in the countries in the region, having in mind the current period of production and export of seasonal fruit and vegetables. The suggestion of the ministers is to schedule the meeting for this week in Podgorica.
4. The European Commission is invited to get involved in tackling this issue, for the purpose of respect of the free-trade principle, and in line with the provision of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
5. Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia, as members of the WTO, will launch the relevant mechanisms before that organisation, in line with the rules and regulations of the WTO;
6. Until the solution to this problem is identified, each country, for the purpose of own economic interests, will undertake concrete measures and mechanism considered appropriate;
7. It has been agreed that such types of ministerial meetings, regardless of this current issue, should be held regularly, with the aim to eliminate barriers jeopardizing the free movement of people, goods, services and capital in the region.
The next meeting will be held in Skopje next month.

According to the new Croatian rulebook, the fee for each inspection control and each individual type of fruit and vegetable when inspected in Croatia is 2.000 kunas (270 euros), while the previos price was 90 kun