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EU to impose restrictions on export of Ukrainian agriculture products, agrees to free trade extension

by Dmytro Basmat April 9, 2024 2:20 AM 1 min read
The flag of Ukraine and the flag of the EU in Berlin, Germany on April 24, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The European Union announced on April 8 that it had reached a provisional deal with European Parliament representatives to extend the suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports to the EU until June 2025, but with new restrictions on agriculture products.

If formally adopted, the new restrictions will reintroduce tariff quotas on imports of poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, maize, groats, and honey, if the average volume of exports exceeds those of previous years. According to a press release, the EU seeks to impose restrictions to take "into account any adverse impact on the market of one or several member states (as is the case now)."

The agreement still needs to be voted on by European lawmakers.

For months, protesting Polish and Romanian farmers and truckers were at the centre of blockades at Ukrainian border crossings, protesting the economic impacts of a free trade agreement that have sparked worries about uneven competition and risks to domestic production.

According to protestors, grain imports in countries adjacent to Ukraine soared, distorting local markets and causing local farmers' grain to fall in price, which led to outcries and restrictions on both national and EU scales.

In January, Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski said he is "fundamentally opposed" to a prolongation of the EU's free trade regime with Ukraine, calling instead for a "gradual, mutual liberalization."

In its statement, the EU noted it was committed to enhancing "monitoring of imports of grain, in particular wheat, and to use of the tools at its disposal in the event of market disruptions."

The EU introduced a free trade agreement for Ukraine to overcome export restrictions following Russia's full-scale invasion and the blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports in June 2022.

The current trade deal is set to expire on June 5, 2024. If formally adopted by the EU Council, the extended agreement will take effect on June 6.

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