Kyiv frustrated as EU member raises concerns over grain export deal proposed by Ukraine
Photo: EPA

The mechanism of verification and authorization of export of agricultural products proposed by Ukraine will be finalized on September 28, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said.

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Four of the five countries of the European Union, which it concerns, are ready to discuss this plan.

Last week, the government announced that under the new rules, four crops (corn, rapeseed, sunflower, wheat) will be exported to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria only with a license from the Ministry of Economy with the approval of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy.

"Four countries have gone through the Ukrainian plan, expressed their constructive comments and proposals and are ready for discussion. And only one state is against it. Unfortunately... We have neither a logical nor an economic explanation for this," Shmyhal said at a government meeting on Tuesday.

The prime minister did not specify what kind of country it is. Bulgaria and Romania were not against the Ukrainian plan from the very beginning, Slovakia also agreed to such a compromise. The Minister of Agriculture of Poland said that his country is ready for negotiations with Ukraine, and Hungary promised to study the Ukrainian export plan.

Shmyhal is sure that Ukrainian agricultural products do not harm the farmers of neighboring countries, and that is why he expects the verification mechanism to be launched after the next meeting of the coordination platform on export and transit issues this week.

"The talk that Ukrainian food harms Polish, Slovak or Hungarian farmers is speculation. Our grain does not significantly affect prices in neighboring countries, while our farmers are in a much worse and more difficult situation than their Western colleagues. We do not intend to and never intended to harm the farmers of neighboring countries," said the Ukrainian official.

At today's meeting, the Cabinet of Ministers officially adopted a resolution on the introduction of the verification mechanism and is starting to prepare for signing the necessary documents with Romania and Bulgaria.

"We are grateful to all neighbors who are open to compromise. In turn, they are always ready to enter into a constructive dialogue. It is dialogue, not political games, where the stake is too high – our unity and our solidarity," Shmyhal said.

In mid-September, three EU countries (Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) unilaterally extended the ban on the export of Ukrainian agricultural products, contrary to the decision of the European Commission. They banned the import of Ukrainian wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds until the end of the year.

After that, Ukraine filed lawsuits against these countries at the WTO.

At the same time, Ukraine proposed to introduce a mechanism for joint verification and approval of the supply of wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds to these countries, as well as to Bulgaria and Romania.