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Croatia Revokes Sharp Hike In Import Fees, Avoids Balkan Trade War

Croatia says it was revoking its decision to dramatically raise import fees on fruits and vegetables amid threats of retaliation from several of its Balkan neighbors.

Last month, the European Union member hiked some fees on checks for pests and viruses on incoming fruit and vegetables to 2,000 kuna ($318) from 90 kuna ($14), saying the move was needed to comply with the bloc’s standards and to protect its consumers.

The Agriculture Ministry said in an August 10 statement that the decision to bring the import fee back to 90 kuna will become effective August 11.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia had issued an ultimatum to Croatia to scrap the fees by the end of the week or face countermeasures.

The Balkan countries maintain that the taxes violate their preaccession agreements with the EU, under which they are guaranteed equal access to markets.

Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia are not members of the EU, while Croatia joined the bloc in 2013.

With reporting by AP and Reuters