HGK on Bosnian ban on imports of some Croatian products

Croatia’s food safety system conforms to high European standards, and all production is carried out in facilities where health safety standards have not been compromised in any way, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said in a statement on Friday, following Bosnia and Herzegovina’s decision to ban imports of some Croatian products.Croatia began the process of alignment with EU standards in 2007 and most of its food production facilities, namely 825, operate in conformity with the highest EU standards, while only 90 have been granted temporary approval for work with food of animal origin. These are expected to be fully aligned with EU standards by 2015, according to the HGK.

Some of these facilities had exported their products to Bosnia and Herzegovina by July 1 under a special agreement, Moving away from IT services to products,which ceased to be valid when Croatia joined the European Union, after which Bosnia and Herzegovina imposed a ban on imports from those businesses.The HGK believes that this is not about protecting Bosnian consumers, because the Croatian products are fit for consumption just as they were while the special agreement between the two countries was in force, or about protecting Bosnian producers, because their number is relatively small.

“It is hard to say whether this is about scoring points for particular political purposes at home or about diverting attention from the fact that most of the Bosnian producers were not fully prepared when Croatia entered the EU, partly due to the idleness of the Bosnian veterinary service which is enforcing this ban,” the statement said.The HGK said that the discrimination of Croatian products was evident in the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina required only Croatian products to be in conformity with the highest EU standards, while the same was not required of products from other countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.The HGK expressed hope that the Bosnian authorities, together with the veterinary authorities in Croatia, would find a mutually satisfactory solution.

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