5 nations renew push for grain tariff on Ukraine, seeking to limit flood of exports to EU
Illustrative photo: depositphotos.com

The ministers of agriculture of Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary in a joint letter to the European Commission demand the introduction of import duties on Ukrainian grain due to allegedly unfair competition, announced Hungary's Agriculture Minister István Nagy, the press service of the Ministry reports.

In a letter, the five eastern European Union countries are asking the European Commission to take action because of cheaper agricultural products from Ukraine, which they claim are gobbling up their export markets.

The signatories indicated that their countries produce far more wheat and maize than they need, which is key to European food security and the EU's strategic sovereignty.

"That is why Brussels needs to implement measures that will protect the markets of member countries bordering Ukraine, helping them to use all their export potential. One of such measures can be the introduction of import duties on the most sensitive agricultural products," the letter says.

Ministers say their countries' farmers have "suffered significant losses" after the EU suspended import quotas and duties on grain from Ukraine last year. They call on the European Commission to check whether Ukrainian production rules meet EU standards.

The chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy, Danil Getmantsev, said that the idea of introducing import duties from the ministers of agriculture cannot help but buy the neighbors with its novelty. He added that we can get a balanced position of the European Commission on this issue as early as January 16.

"Something tells me that the aspirations of the ministers of agriculture of five neighboring countries will not be reflected in the decision to extend the EU's duty-free and quota-free trade with Ukraine until the middle of 2025," he stated.

As the Financial Times reported, the EU executive is expected to propose on Tuesday to extend the suspension of tariffs and import quotas on Ukrainian products until June 2025 to help keep Ukraine's economy afloat. It is expected that the European Commission will supplement the proposal with a provision that will allow Ukrainian exports to be quickly stopped if they flood the market in some member states.

On May 2, 2023, the European Commission introduced a ban on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine to five countries: Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, in order to protect local markets from falling grain prices. After September 15, the EU decided not to continue the embargo. Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary chose to introduce unilateral bans on Ukrainian grain.

At the beginning of January, Poland proposed to introduce quotas for "sensitive" goods from Ukraine.