Macedonia And Serbia Call Off Trade Row

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Serbian wheat and flour will be freely exported to Macedonia and Macedonian wine and tomatoes can freely enter Serbia following a meeting of the two trade ministers.

Serbian Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic and his Macedonian counterpart, Ljupco Dimovski, have agreed that Macedonia will amend a regulation curbing the import of wheat and flour from Serbia.

“We agreed to remove all non-tariff barriers in trade to allow a free flow of goods but also to increase trade and improve economic cooperation between the two countries,” Ljajic told Serbia’s Tanjug news agency on Thursday.

On July 1, the Macedonian government said that for ever kilo of imported wheat Macedonian importers would be obliged to to buy three kilos of local wheat, and for every kilo of imported Serbian flour, they would have to buy four kilos of local flour.

Serbia accused Macedonia of breaching the Central European Free Trade Agreement, CEFTA, while Macedonia insisted it had a right to limit imports.

Last week, the Serbian Agriculture Ministry gave a ten-day deadline to Macedonia to withdraw the curbs or face tit-for-tat measures. Serbia is an important importer of wine and tomatoes from Macedonia.

According to the deal, Serbian and Macedonian officials will now consult weekly and resolve issues presented by exporters and importers, so that regulations such as the one limiting the import of wheat and flour from Serbia will not be repeated.

A CEFTA meeting is scheduled to be held in Belgrade on July 22 when the executive committee will be informed of the agreement.

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