Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic announced today that he would be seeking an urgent meeting with the competent ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia due to the decision of the temporary institutions in Pristina to implement customs duties of 30% on the import of certain types of fruit and vegetables and corn.
In a statement for Beta, he said that, in addition to the meeting with the colleagues from B&H and Macedonia, where a joint position will be defined and concrete measures proposed, he would also seek an urgent session of the CEFTA Committee, as the agreement has been directly violated.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry of the temporary institutions in Pristina is implementing a protective customs duty of 30% on the import of certain types of fruit and vegetables and corn since yesterday, which pertains, as they said, to “all trade partners”.
– The temporary institutions in Kosovo need to make it clear whether they want to remain a part of the CEFTA or not – said Ljajic, who is also a deputy prime minister of Serbia.
He added that there was no CEFTA member toward which the Pristina authorities hadn't implemented at least one non-customs barrier and that the latest one pertained to all of them.
– Such an approach is in contrast not just with the idea of a common economic area in this part of Europe, but also with the fundamental values of modern economy in the world – Ljajic said.
As the duty pertains exclusively to seasonal fruit and vegetables (cucumber, tomato, pepper, cabbage, spinach, onion, carrot, legumes, potato, watermelon, cantaloupe, apple, pear, plum, cherry, sour cherry, strawberry, raspberry and blackberry) and corn, it is highly likely that, as the Ministry of Trade of Serbia says, the damage will primarily be incurred by the CEFTA members.