Serbia warns it may restrict fruit, vegetable imports from Macedonia.

By bne IntelliNews August 9, 2013

Serbia will have to retaliate in case Macedonia does not abolish the restrictions on imports of wheat and flour within the next 10 days, Serbian assistant minister of trade Bojana Todorovic said as quoted by Tanjug news agency. The Serbian response is likely to involve restrictions on seasonal fruit and vegetable imports from Macedonia. Serbia accounted for 6.3% of Macedonia’s exports in H1 2013.

In early July, the Macedonian government decided to link the imports of wheat and flour to the purchase of local wheat and flour until end-2013. More precisely, the decision stipulates that Macedonian importers have to purchase 3 kg of local wheat for every kilogram of imported wheat, and 4 kg of local wheat for 1 kg of imported flour.

Todorovic comments that since the restriction was introduced, Serbia has exported only a quarter to a third of its usual wheat and flour exports to Macedonia. At a meeting held in Belgrade on July 22, all CEFTA (Central European Free Trade Agreement) members urged Macedonia to abolish the decision, the Serbian assistant minister added.

In a related note, on Aug 6, Macedonian government spokesperson Aleksandar Gjorgjiev did not rule out government intervention involving purchase of wheat from domestic producers. So far, more than 80,000 tonnes of grain have been purchased or over 65% of the total domestic production.

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