Ukraine sends notes to Poland and EU decrying restrictions on Ukrainian food imports

29 April, 01:14 PM
Ukrainian grain (Photo:REUTERS/Igor Tkachenko/File Photo)

Ukrainian grain (Photo:REUTERS/Igor Tkachenko/File Photo)

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry sent notes to the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine and the EU representation in Ukraine on April 28 decrying the “categorical unacceptability of the situation regarding trade restrictions on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko wrote on Facebook on April 29 that such restrictions on Ukrainian imports, “whatever their justification,” do not comply with the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU and the principles and norms of the EU Single Market.

Nikolenko said there were all legal grounds for the immediate resumption of exports of Ukrainian agricultural goods to Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, as well as the continued unrestricted exports to other EU member states and the transit of all Ukrainian products within and outside the EU.

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The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called on its partners to find “a balanced solution based on EU legislation, the Association Agreement, and in the spirit of solidarity.”

“Only this way, can we successfully resist the Russian full-scale aggressive war against Ukraine and strengthen the EU Single Market, of which Ukraine will become a participant,” Ukrainian diplomats said.

The Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, announced on the evening of April 28 that the European Commission had reached an agreement with five European countries on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products. The agreement was concluded with Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

“I’m pleased to announce that we have reached a political decision on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products into the EU. We have agreed with Ukraine and five neighboring EU member states on how to settle the situation,” he said.

According to the agreements:

  • countries will abandon unilateral restrictions on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products;
  • the EU will allocate EUR 100 million to support affected farmers in those countries;
  • protection measures will be implemented for the four “most sensitive” products: corn, wheat, sunflower seeds, and rapeseed;
  • countries will work to ensure exports to other countries.

Earlier, European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski announced that the EC was nearing a “good deal” that would temporarily ban the import of such products as corn, wheat, rapeseed, sunflower and oil in five countries.

On April 15, Poland banned the import of grain from Ukraine. Polish farmers had been protesting for several months against the transportation of Ukrainian agricultural products through Poland to third countries. They claimed that a significant portion of Ukrainian grain does not transit further and stays in Poland, destabilizing Polish markets and lowering prices for Polish farmers’ products.

Later, Hungary and Slovakia also announced a temporary ban on the import of grain and oil crops, as well as some other agricultural products from Ukraine. On April 19, Bulgaria joined them, allowing only transit.

A representative of the European Commission for Agriculture and Trade, Miriam Garcia Ferrer, stated that the EU opposes such a ban.

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