EC: Dispute over import of Croatian cigarettes solved

EC: Dispute over import of Croatian cigarettes solved

The European Commission (EC) is satisfied that Serbia has revised its stance and agreed to keep the current quota of cigarettes from Croatia, Peter Stano, spokesperson of Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, has stated.

The dispute between Serbia and Croatia started after Serbia requested that Croatia, which joined the EU this summer, should be deprived of the privilege to export cigarettes to Serbia at the tax rate which is nearly four times lower than the one which is applied to other EU member states and which Croatia enjoyed when it was a CEFTA member.

Serbia changed its position after a constructive discussion and adjusted the Stabilization and Association Agreement to preserve the traditional flow of goods in line with the regulations which were in effect in CEFTA up to recently, Stano's statement reads.

Serbia's argument was that after leaving CEFTA and joining the EU Croatia has to renounce the priviledge it enjoyed based on the earlier agreement.

However, the EC took an opposing stance on the pretext that it is usual for the new EU member states to keep the privileges they had as part of regional trade agreements.

Stano could not answer reports' question when and at what level Belgrade has changed its stance on this issue, but he underlined that the EC is satisfied that the change happened.

He also pointed out that the EC is still considering Serbia's request to have its quota of tax-free export of sugar to the EU increased in return.

The EC is ready to discuss Serbia's request as part of an appropriate procedure stipulated through the Stabilization and Association Agreement during the talks which are due to kick off in foreseeable future, Stano said.