After Polish pressure, EU agrees to let countries curtail some Ukraine farm goods imports
Valdis Dobmrovskis (Photo: EC - Audiovisual Service / Claudio Centonze)

This week, the European Commission will present changes to the trade legislation of the European Union, which will allow Ukraine's neighbors to introduce restrictions on the import of agricultural products, the European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with the Financial Times.

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The EC will propose to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to extend the tariff-free and quota-free regime for exports from Ukraine until June 2025, albeit not as last year, but with reservations.

The European Union intends to control the supply of agricultural products and block imports if there is a risk of price reduction in countries bordering Ukraine, Dombrovskis said.

"We will be looking at how we can provide additional assurances to Poland and other member states and one way of doing this is introducing country-specific safeguards," the official explained.

"We see that this regional impact of trade or exports of Ukrainian agricultural products is very unevenly distributed. It’s primarily felt by immediate neighbouring countries whereas [it] doesn’t create much disruption for the EU market as a whole," said Dombrovskis.

He noted that after the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union, the issue of mutual trade liberalization will arise. That is, not only the bloc, but also Ukraine will have to lower some trade barriers to increase supplies from the European Union.

Citing sources in Brussels, the newspaper also writes that the European Union is considering the possibility of introducing quotas for poultry meat, sugar and eggs from Ukraine. But the decision has not been made yet.

In May 2022, the EU abolished tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian exports for a year, and then continued duty-free trade until the end of 2024.

In parallel, in May 2023, the European Commission introduced a temporary ban on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine to five EU countries: Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, in order to protect local markets from falling grain prices. The embargo expired on September 15, 2023, but three countries – Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – decided to introduce unilateral bans on Ukrainian grain.

With Romania and Bulgaria, Ukraine managed to agree on a mechanism for the verification and authorization of the export of agricultural products.