Croatia in U-turn over import fees

Croatia in U-turn over import fees

Croatia has reversed a decision to raise import fees on food charged at its borders with its non-EU Balkan neighbours Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as on shipments from Macedonia, another ex-Yugoslav state.

The Croatian Ministry of Agriculture yesterday (10 August) announced "from Friday onwards the border controls would be fully normalised". The government also added it would assess the existing cost of inspection fees charged on importers.

The reversal follows a dispute between EU member state Croatia and its neighbours after Zagreb decided to increase by 220% import tariffs for phytosanitary controls on exports from these four ex-Yugoslav states, increasing the fees to HRK2,000 (US$317) from HRK90.

Serbia had said it would increase phytosanitary controls on all organic food exported coming from Croatia.

Speaking to just-food one day before his government backtracked, the director general of the Croatian Employers 'Association (HUP) Davor Majetic said his government should help the Croatia food sector directly by cutting local taxes and helping recruit foreign workers to overcome labour shortages in the industry, rather than through protectionism.