Ukraine asked the European Commission on Tuesday not to extend beyond June 5 the temporary restrictions applied to imports of four Ukrainian agricultural products in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary, citing that this decision caused “difficulties” for the Ukrainian agricultural sector, informs the agency EFE, taken over by Agerpres.
To help Ukraine after Russia’s war against the country last February, the EU suspended tariffs and other trade defense measures on Ukrainian imports, including grain and other food products.
During this time, large quantities of Ukrainian grain that should have only transited the Eastern European states through the “solidarity corridors” (created to help Ukraine export its grain after it could no longer use its sea ports Black) remained in these countries, where they were sold below the prices that local producers can offer, this and as a result of the fact that the Ukrainian grains were not imposed by Brussels to comply with European quality standards.
All of this distorted the markets of Eastern European countries and caused farmers in these countries losses compensated only partially by the compensations approved by the European Commission.
Therefore, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria temporarily banned imports of some Ukrainian agri-food products, especially cereals, a decision following which the European Commission reached an agreement at the end of April with these four countries, plus Romania, so that they guarantees the transit of Ukrainian grains, in exchange for “exceptional safeguard measures” applied to four Ukrainian agricultural products, namely wheat, corn, rape and sunflower seeds.
Ukraine is now speaking out against extending this agreement beyond June 5. “We are against and we believe that it is not a correct action (to limit imports from Ukraine, ed.)”, the Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy, Mikola Solski, declared in front of the press in Brussels, after meeting with the ministers of agriculture from EU states.
The Ukrainian minister claimed that, “a few days” after the European Commission agreed to restrict imports from Ukraine of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds to Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary, the Ukrainian agricultural sector began to he faces “great difficulties” in getting grain out of the country.
He appreciated that “it is normal to have discussions between friends and members of the same family”, alluding to the five Eastern European countries most affected by the liberalization of Ukrainian agricultural imports, but he also cited other “potential problems”, among which “the bigger” would be for Russia to take advantage of the situation.
That is why, the Ukrainian official reasoned, the government in Kiev wants the EU executive not to extend the respective import restrictions in the five mentioned EU states, and if Brussels does not comply with this request, then Ukraine does not exclude the possibility of addressing the Organization World Trade Organization, adding, however, that the Ukrainian government does not want “new complicated situations”.