Ukraine will be forced to resort to WTO arbitration in case of blocking grain exports - Shmyhal

Ukraine will be forced to resort to WTO arbitration in case of blocking grain exports - Shmyhal

Ukraine will be forced to go to World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitration if Ukrainian grain exports are blocked. But the country hopes for a consistent position of the European Commission (EC) and the responsibility of neighboring countries.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal said this at a press conference in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"In the event of unilateral blocking of Ukrainian grain exports by neighboring countries, Ukraine will apply to the WTO International Arbitration. We have great respect for our neighbors and are grateful for their support and aid in the war, but we are responsible for the implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU. We want responsibility in response to our conscious and balanced behavior," Shmyhal said.

He stated that in the first six months of 2023, agricultural exports accounted for about 60% of total exports. But the blocking of some neighboring countries, the Prime Minister noted, could affect exports from Ukraine. "That is why we are making every effort to work with the EC to prevent the blockade," he said.

Read also: UN Secretary-General plans to discuss resumption of grain initiative with Zelensky, Erdogan, Lavrov

According to him, the government is trying to expand transit routes for Ukrainian goods. Ukraine has agreed with Romania to increase the flow of goods through its territory from 2 million tonnes to 4 million tonnes, Shmyhal added.

"We are developing the Danube direction extremely well," he noted.

The Prime Minister also said that 19,000 transit declarations have been issued over the 11 months of customs visa-free travel. "This greatly accelerates the transit of Ukrainian goods," he stated.

As Ukrinform reported, the Polish Council of Ministers adopted a resolution on Tuesday calling on the EC to extend the ban on imports of four types of agricultural products from Ukraine beyond September 15. If Brussels does not decide, Warsaw will unilaterally extend the embargo on Ukrainian grain. The document states that the ban will remain in effect until the relations in the agricultural sector between Poland and Ukraine are settled.

Read also: Any restrictions on agri-exports from Ukraine to be unkustified, illegal – MFA

In May 2023, the EC banned imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower from Ukraine to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Romania at the insistence of these countries. On June 5, the ban was extended until September 15, 2023. These countries want to extend the ban on imports until the end of the year and expand it to some other products.

The Ukrainian authorities said that if the EC extends the ban on imports of Ukrainian grain after September 15, Kyiv may consider mirror measures. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine would appeal to WTO arbitration if Poland blocks Ukrainian grain exports.

At the same time, he noted that Ukraine still expects the EC to lift any restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products after they expire on September 15.

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