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European Commission proposes to extend duty-free imports from Ukraine until June 2025

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 31, 2024 9:58 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 that import duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU should remain suspended until June 2025, though exceptions will apply to certain agricultural products, according to an announcement on Jan. 31.  

The free trade agreement first came into effect in June 2022, designed to help Ukraine's economy during the Russian invasion.

Different rules will apply for "the most sensitive products," namely Ukrainian sugar, poultry, and eggs, which will be capped at levels from 2022 and 2023.

"This means that if imports of these products were exceeding those volumes, tariffs would be reimposed to ensure that import volumes do not significantly exceed those of previous years," the Commission said, describing the measure as an "emergency brake."

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal greeted the news on X, saying that the extension will offer "additional opportunities for Ukrainian companies and exports and strengthen the stability of our economy."

"To avoid possible conflicts in agricultural markets, clearer instruments to control the movement of goods have been proposed. We look forward to further support for this decision," Shmyhal said.

The import of Ukrainian agricultural products has been the source of protest for various farming groups in countries neighboring Ukraine, such as Romania and Poland, with farmers claiming that the liberalization of import rules for Ukrainian products hinders their ability to remain competitive.  

The proposals will be considered by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, with the European Commission aiming to "ensure a seamless transition" to the new rules when the previous regime expires on June 5, 2024.

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