Protracted border blockade to hit economies of Ukraine, Poland, and many EU countries – Vysotskyi

Protracted border blockade to hit economies of Ukraine, Poland, and many EU countries – Vysotskyi

Ukrinform
The blockade of the Ukrainian-Polish border is more about the interests of certain groups than economic issues.

The relevant statement was made by Agrarian Policy and Food First Deputy Minister Taras Vysotskyi in a commentary to Ukrainian Radio, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Throughout the entire period, we have been consistently advocating a constructive dialogue. Undoubtedly, in all dimensions, Ukraine and Poland have more benefits from free trade, mutual bilateral trade, cooperation, implementation of joint projects. And this was proved in previous years, when the above had been actively developing and working. Moreover, Ukraine showed understanding for the requests of the Polish side to set limits on the export of grain crops, wheat, corn, sunflowers and rapeseed to the Polish market,” Vysotskyi emphasized.

In his words, as the restrictions of the European Union expired in September 2023, Ukraine endorsed an internal decision to license the export of the aforementioned four crops to Poland. In December 2023, such decision was extended for another year.

“Hence, what they say about the Polish market being flooded with Ukrainian-produced grain contradicts the reality. We did not export a single tonne there during that period. We can see from the customs data that, since January 1, 2024, not a single tonne has also been exported there,” Vysotskyi stressed.

According to him, protests inside Europe are aimed at easing the European-wide requirements of the Green Deal in relation to farmers, increasing subsidies, or keeping benefits at the same level.

“But, it is an internal European issue that is being discussed and adopted in Brussels, and Ukraine currently has nothing to do with it. We have not yet gained membership in the European Union. Hence, again, we believe that, having spoken at all levels, society should understand that, most likely, there is just a certain group of stakeholders who are taking advantage of the moment,” Vysotskyi explained.

He mentioned that Ukraine’s exports to Poland reached $1.7 billion in 2023, while agricultural imports from Poland to Ukraine came to $1.1 billion.

“There are also other types of products that are traded, not only agricultural products. Mainly, these are fuel, other industrial or chemical products. Therefore, certainly, there are losses. Losses for the two budgets, losses in terms of jobs and losses to other competitors,” Vysotskyi added.

The Ukrainian official pointed out that the blockade also affects transit operations to other European countries.

“Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy – many countries require Ukrainian products. They also have the arranged processes that depend on Ukrainian products. Most importantly, this has not happened in the past two years. Ukraine’s exports have been present in the EU for decades… Thus, many sectors within the EU get affected, as historically at least one-third of Ukraine’s agricultural exports always went to the EU,” Vysotskyi concluded.

A reminder that Polish farmers continue blocking freight traffic on the border with Ukraine. With small breaks, the border blockade protests have been underway since early November 2023. In addition to farmers, they were supported by Polish carriers.

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