EU Commission proposes raising trade tariffs on Russian, Belarusian grain to restrict war funding
Photo: press service of the European Commission

The European Commission has sent an official proposal to the Council of the European Union to increase tariffs on imports into the EU from Russia and Belarus of cereals, oilseeds and derived products, including wheat, maize, and sunflower meal, reported the European Commission portal.

Once approved by the Council, the rates will be applied immediately.

The proposal of the European Commission does not affect the transit of grain, oil crops and their processing products from Russia and Belarus to third countries. The increase in tariffs should suppress the import of agricultural products from Russia and Belarus to the European Union, the report says.

Also, the increase in import tariffs is aimed at achieving additional goals:

- to prevent destabilization of the EU market due to significant redirection of Russian grain products to the EU market;

- fight against the Russian export of illegally appropriated grain produced on the territory of Ukraine. The proposed tariffs will ensure that this illegal export method is no longer profitable;

- to prevent Russia from using revenues from exports to the EU of both Russian and illegally appropriated Ukrainian grain to finance its aggressive war against Ukraine.

"Russian and Belarusian grain and grain-related products have until now been able to enter the EU market with low or no customs duties and we saw these imports rise considerably in 2023. Our proposed prohibitive tariffs will make imports of these products commercially unviable, thereby also preventing possible future surges that could destabilise the EU food market. It will also help put a stop to the Russian practice of illegally exporting stolen Ukrainian grain into the EU," commented European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

According to Eurostat, in 2023 the European Union imported more than 1.5 million tons of Russian grain compared to 970,000 tons in 2022. Imports have grown significantly in recent months.

At the beginning of March, Ukraine's trade representative Taras Kachka confirmed that Ukraine is ready to agree to trade restrictions with the EU in order to resolve the political dispute with Poland, if the bloc restricts grain imports from Russia.

On March 13, the European Parliament called for an urgent embargo on agricultural products from Russia and Belarus.