šarić bih.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ/ ua

Bosnian authorities are willing to reach a compromise in negotiations with the European Union on the adjustment of the interim trade agreement so that it can be applied to Croatia too, aware that without that Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot apply for EU membership candidate status, Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Minister Mirko Sarovic has said.

In its Monday issue, Dnevni Avaz daily quoted him as saying that the Presidency had asked the Council of Ministers to "redefine and correct" the negotiating position on the adjustment of said agreement. "We are already working on the key steps we should take and on the appointment of a new negotiating team."

Since Croatia joined the EU in July 2013, Bosnia has prevented it from exercising the right to non-duty exports to Bosnia like other EU countries. The European Commission has insisted that Croatia participate in the allocation of earlier agreed quotas on non-duty exports to Bosnia, but Bosnia has refused, claiming this would threaten domestic production, notably the food and farm sectors.

Bosnian officials have insisted that in exchange for the equal treatment of Croatia, the EU should open its market to Bosnian goods such as sugar and wine.

"We'll see if (Brussels') responses to at least some of our demands are to our benefit," Sarovic said, adding that the pace of the negotiations would depend on that.

The aim of the new approach is to ensure the meeting of requirements for EU membership candidate status, which Bosnia plans to apply for by the end of February at the latest. The European Commission has clearly set the alignment of the interim trade agreement as a key requirement.

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