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Ukraine says continuation of EU ban on grain imports 'unacceptable'

by Alexander Khrebet August 26, 2023 3:04 PM 1 min read
A COFCO facility in the north of Romania, where grain arrives from Ukraine by train. (Photo: RISE Romania)
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Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said on Aug. 26 that it is unacceptable for European Union members to continue the ban on Ukrainian grain imports until the end of 2023.

The announcement followed Polish Agricultural Minister Robert Telus’ warning on Aug. 25 that Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary would ban the grain imports unilaterally if the EU did not extend the ban.

"We consider it absolutely unacceptable to continue trade restrictions on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine after the expiration of the European Commission's ban on Sept. 15," Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said.

The Foreign Ministry also said that the intentions to expand the list of banned Ukrainian imports are causing a "complete misunderstanding."

The ministry said unilateral restrictions do not comply with the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU and the single market rules, and called on the EU leadership "to find a balanced solution" based on domestic legislation and the Association Agreement.

Agricultural workers in the five EU countries have organized several strikes against Ukrainian grain imports, fearing they threaten their production and pressuring the European Commission to impose a temporary ban.

Ukraine's grain exports are hampered by Russia's unilateral decision to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17. The deal, brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, allowed the country to export its agricultural products amid the full-scale invasion.

Ukraine's partners have since pledged to assist with shipping out its produce. The EU announced on July 19 the expansion of its "solidarity lanes," facilitating the export of over 45 million metric tons of grain since May 2022.

Cheap Ukrainian grain has been flooding the EU market since the beginning of the invasion, helped by the bloc waiving customs duties and import quotas to keep Ukraine's agricultural sector running.

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