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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Sept. 13, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The European Union is planning to impose tariffs on grain imports from Russia and Belarus to appease farmers and some member states, the Financial Times (FT) reported on March 19, citing people familiar with the plans.

EU imports of cereals, 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, according to FT.

Poland and the Baltic states have called on the EU to restrict Russian and Belarusian imports of agricultural products and foodstuffs to protect domestic markets from an influx of cheap products and deprive Moscow of the relevant profits supporting its war machine.

The European Commission is expected to impose in the coming days a duty of 95 euros ($103) per ton on grain from Russia and Belarus, which would increase prices by at least 50%, killing demand, the people told FT.

The EU also reportedly plans to place tariffs of 50% on oilseeds and derived products.

This would be the first restriction on Russian food products since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

The duty will be set at the maximum level allowed by the World Trade Organization’s rules, the FT sources said.

Russia may retaliate, but it has already banned most food imports from the EU, and many European agricultural companies have left the country in recent years.

Latvia decided to temporarily ban imports of grain and other foodstuffs from Russia and Belarus in February, making it the first EU country to take this measure.

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