EU extends restrictions on agri-imports from Ukraine until mid-September

EU extends restrictions on agri-imports from Ukraine until mid-September

The European Union will extend until September 15, 2023, the exceptional and extraordinary measures adopted in May on imports of Ukrainian grain to the five EU countries on the border with Ukraine.

According to Ukrinform, the European Commission published this today.

It is reported that the EU will promote the effective operation of transit routes and the implementation of Autonomous Trade Measures, which provide for the extension of the EU-Ukraine trade regime without duties and tariffs for another year, until June 2024.

"The EU is phasing out by 15 September 2023 the exceptional and temporary preventive measures adopted on 2 May 2023 on imports of wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed from Ukraine under the exceptional safeguard of the Autonomous Trade Measures Regulation. The scope of these measures is further reduced from 17 to 6 tariff lines for the 4 products covered," the statement said.

Read also: Russians looting state-owned agri-companies in temporarily occupied Kherson region

As noted, these temporary and targeted safeguard measures were adopted as a result of logistical bottlenecks that have been created for these goods in the markets of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Their application is subject to the condition that the above-mentioned EU countries will not continue unilateral restrictive measures against Ukrainian imports.

It is expected that the gradual lifting of these temporary and exceptional measures will significantly improve the operation of the solidarity lanes and respond to the challenges associated with the transportation of grain from Ukraine to foreign markets.

"These measures continue to be necessary for a limited period of time given the exceptional circumstances of serious logistical bottlenecks and limited grain storage capacity ahead of the harvest season experienced in five Member States. As agreed, a Joint Coordination Platform has been set up to coordinate the efforts of the Commission, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well as Ukraine to improve the flow of trade between the Union and Ukraine, including transit of agricultural products along corridors," the document says.

Read also: President: Over 1.5M t of agri-products accumulated in Pivdennyi port blocked by Russia

This joint work will be coordinated at the political level by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis. The first meeting of the Joint Coordination Platform was held on June 2 this year. This structure will, among other things, monitor efforts to improve the functioning of the solidarity lanes between the EU and Ukraine.

As noted, if the transit of Ukrainian goods is impeded by excessively burdensome requirements in one or more of the five Member States, the European Commission will reassess whether the conditions for applying the above preventive measures remain in force.

"These exceptional and temporary measures fully respect the EU's strong commitment to support Ukraine and preserve its capabilities to export its grains which are critical to feed the world and keep food prices down, in the face of the challenges posed by the unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine and its civilians," the statement reads.

Read also: G7 leaders support Ukrainian grain exports, Black Sea Grain Initiative

As previously reported, on May 25, the EU Council approved a regulation extending the duty-free trade regime between the EU and Ukraine, which prolongs the suspension of all customs duties, quotas and trade remedies on Ukrainian exports to the EU for another year, until June 2024. These regulatory rules came into force on June 6 this year.

The blockade of the Black Sea ports by Russia has led to a sharp increase in the volume of transportation of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural goods by land, through solidarity lanes on the borders with neighboring countries. This has significantly affected the domestic market of these countries and caused protests from local farmers.

On April 28, the European Commission agreed with four of Ukraine's neighboring countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) on a package of measures to be implemented after the countries lifted their unilateral actions against agri-imports from Ukraine. This package restricts imports of four key products from Ukraine (wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds) to the territory of these countries, as well as Romania. Although, transit of such goods to other EU countries and the world market is allowed.

Read also: Ukrainian grain critically important for saving millions of children from hunger – Kyslytsya

These restrictions were in effect until June 5 under the previous duty-free trade regime between the EU and Ukraine, which entered into force on June 4, 2022, and expired on June 5, 2023.

Accordingly, under the new Autonomous Trade Measures, which will apply to trade between the EU and Ukraine until June 2024, the EU is applying exceptional and temporary measures to restrict imports of Ukrainian grain to the five EU countries. These exceptional measures are to expire by September 15, 2023.

Photo: Shutterstock/AURA88

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