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European Commission proposes tariffs on Russian, Belarusian grain

by Martin Fornusek March 22, 2024 1:34 PM 2 min read
Workers at a grain processing plant in Lotskyne, Mykolaiv Oblast, prepare wheat for export on Nov. 4, 2022. (Francis Farrell/The Kyiv Independent)
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The European Commission proposed on March 22 steep tariffs on imports of Russian and Belarusian grain, oilseeds, and derived products to protect the EU market and cut down Moscow's profits amid its war against Ukraine.

Several EU members have been pushing the EU to slap sanctions on Russian agricultural imports into the bloc, which have surged in recent years.

The commission's president, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the proposal to EU member states during a summit that took place in Brussels between March 21 and 22.

The measure would impose a tariff of 95 euros ($103) per ton on corn and wheat, as opposed to zero tariffs imposed today, Business Insider reported. Oilseeds and derived products would be subject to an "ad valorem duty" of 50%, the outlet said.

"We propose the imposition of tariffs on these Russian imports to mitigate the growing risk to our markets and our farmers. They will reduce Russia's capacity to exploit the EU for the benefit of its war machine," von der Leyen said.

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Russia exported around $1.4 billion euros worth of grain products to the EU in 2023. European imports of grains, oil seeds, and their derivatives from Russia reached a record of 4 million metric tons in 2023, which is 1% of the total EU consumption, the Financial Times reported.

Another professed goal of the measure is to prevent Russia from selling grain looted from Ukraine on foreign markets while presenting it as a Russian product.

If approved, the proposal would slap the same restrictions also on products from Belarus in retaliation for Minsk's support for Russian aggression. The measure would not affect exports to third countries.

"We are striking the right balance between supporting our economy and farming communities. At the same time, we maintain our unyielding support for Ukraine," von der Leyen said.

The proposal will now be considered by the EU Council. Once adopted, it will enter into force immediately.

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