ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On 18 June 2009, the House of the People of the Parliament of Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) approved the measure entitled Law on the Protection of Domestic Production ( ). It was approved on 18 February 2009 by the other house of the Bosnian Parliament, the House of Representatives. The Law provides for the imposition of full Most Favoured Nation duties on goods originating in the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Croatia that fall within the scope of two tariff lines and four sectors. The Law came into force on 22 June 2009, when it was published in the Parliamentary Gazette ( ).
The Law calls for the application of duties in accordance with Section 23 of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (which covers safeguard measures), the laws and regulations of BiH with respect to anti-dumping and anti-competitive trade practices, and the GATT. The Annexincluded in the original submission to the BiH Parliament provides summary statistics in the growth of exports to and imports from the two cited nations from 1999 to 2007, with a detailed description of imports and exports of agricultural products (lines 01 to 24) over the last year. The author of the Law claims that safeguard measures are required given the surge in imports of certain agricultural goods from both Serbia and Croatia, as well as a sharp drop in exports from BiH to the Republic of Serbia. Extraordinary circumstances, including a drought in Bosnia and financing difficulties experienced by Bosnian farmers during the recent credit crisis, are also discussed in the Annex to the Law.
While the original text (first introduced to the Legislature in December 2008) included a clause requiring Parliament to review the effect of the measures by the second quarter of 2009, similar language had been removed from the text approved by both Houses, effectively placing no limits on the application of the trade barriers.
The United Nations High Representative (HR) in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, has yet to issue an official statement on the passage of the Law. HR Inzko has the power to impose legislation when the National Legislature fails to do so.
On 3 July 2009, the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Hercegovina decided to accept a request to review the constitutionality of the Law on the Protection of Domestic Production. The request was made by Ilija Filipovic, Speaker of the House of the People. In his request, Mr. Filipovic claimed that the law was unconstitutional because of the damage that it would cause to Bosnia's international interests, relations between the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, and to Bosnia's agreements with its neighbours. In accepting the request to review the law, the Constitutional Court also opted to temporarily suspend the application of the tariffs imposed, in order to mitigate any long-term damage.
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