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Minister: Agricultural cargo to be checked in Lithuania to speed up grain exports

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 3, 2023 1:46 PM 2 min read
An agricultural worker unloads cereals from a combine during a harvest on Aug. 30, 2023 in Chernihiv Oblast. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
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Ukrainian agricultural cargo headed for the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda will be checked directly at the port, instead of at the border with Poland, Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi said on Oct. 3.

This measure "will speed up transit through the territory of Poland," Solskyi said. The agreement was made together with the minister's Polish and Lithuanian counterparts upon the initiative of Ukraine.

Poland's Agricultural Minister Robert Telus said that the three countries had "reached an important agreement," and that the checks will be transferred to Lithuania from Oct. 4.

The checks concern veterinary, sanitary, and phytosanitary controls necessary for the export of agricultural products.

Ukraine's agricultural exports have become a contentious topic in multiple European countries over the past few weeks, including in Poland.

The EU instituted an import ban on certain agricultural products from Ukraine in May at the request of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria, who feared that the influx of cheaper Ukrainian products would put pressure on their own farmers.

Following the expiration of the measure on Sept. 15, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary said they will continue to impose it on the national level.

On Sept. 24, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Poland has prepared transit corridors for Ukrainian grain to pass through and be "exported to where it is needed."

"I believe that it is the right decision that the Polish government has maintained the ban on the sale of Ukrainian grain on the Polish market. However, we must do everything to ensure that transit is as high as possible," Duda told channel TVP1.

Ukraine is expecting a good grain and oilseed harvest forecast of 80 million tons this season, of which 49 million tons is forecasted for export, according to the Ukrainian Grain Association.

However, Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and repeated attacks on port infrastructure means that Ukraine is facing difficulties with exporting these goods via its own Black Sea ports.

Transit corridors to Baltic Sea ports, like Klaipeda, could provide Ukraine with the opportunity to export up to 10 million tons of grain per year, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Sept. 6.

Ukraine ready to take neighbors to court as continued grain bans threaten exports
Kyiv may be gearing up for a legal battle with three of its neighbors as it now fights to free its grain on its western borders. In defiance of the European Commission’s Sept. 15 decision to lift an embargo on the domestic sale of Ukrainian agricultural products in five
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