Croatia entered a "customs war" with three other countries: Italy, Austria and Germany filed charges to the European Commission

The Italians consider the decision of the Croatian Minister of Agriculture, Tomislav Tolusic, controversial

The Italian Federation of Wood and Furniture Industries "FederlegnoArredo" sued Croatia to the European Commission due to a recent order by the Ministry of Agriculture in Zagreb for a two-year ban on the transport and export of oak logs due to the appearance of an oak bug.

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Similar reports, as reported by the Poslovni Dnevnik, were also sent from Austria and Germany.

The Italian Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolusic's decision is considered controversial because the measures envisaged will not halt the spread of this pest, and will create an obstacle that severely violates the trade relations between the two countries. 

As arguments in the report, Italians state that the oak bug was once on the blacklist of the European Plant Protection Organization, but was later removed because of the impossibility of preventing the spread of the pest with phytosanitary measures.

They also referred to the Austrian BFW Forest Research Center, which found that the prohibition of transport is not effective in preventing the spread of pests, because the bug hibernates below the oak crust, and according to them spreading is possible only during the winter months by transporting untreated logs and through plants intended for planting.

Foto: Telegraf

As the last argument, FederlegnoArredo points out that the Croatian Ministry has not clearly identified numerous administrative issues that complicate business for traders. For example, it is not clear to them who the subject and object of sanctions are, or whether they are foreign importers, Croatian exporters or carriers. They also disregard the fact that no control location has been established, as well as possible exceptions.

That is why they ask from Commission to assess the phytosanitary status and justification of Tolusic's regulation in order to avoid market problems.

The Ministry of Agriculture of Croatia told "Poslovni" that they had not officially received the complaint yet, nor did they receive any inquiry from the EC to their address, and therefore they can not comment on the application.

- Considering the timber management plans and the responsible behavior of the Croatian Forests in the cutting, whose implementation is planned for 2017, 98 percent of oak logs from the total available quantities are, based on annual contracts, distributed to local companies based in Croatia, regardless of whether behind them is domestic or foreign capital - say the ministry.

The text states that Croatian placement and sale of oak logs to other countries rose to 77.24 million euros last year. In a statistical survey, which the Italians enclosed in their EC briefing, it is evident that more than half (44.18 million euros) were delivered to Italy, so it is not surprising that they are nervously addressing Brussels, marks Poslovni.

(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)

Tags: Austria, Balkan news, Bugs, Charges, Croatia, Daily news, East Europe, European Union, Export, Forest, Furniture, Germany, Import, Italy, Log, Oak, Timber, Tree