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Politico: France calls for curb on Ukrainian imports

by Chris York March 19, 2024 7:13 PM 2 min read
A protester holds Ukrainian and French flags in his hand during a demonstration in front of the Russian consulate in Marseille, France, on Feb. 25, 2023. (Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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France is calling for a curb on Ukrainian agricultural imports, joining Poland in a push that could cost Kyiv 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in trade revenue, Politico reported on March 19.

According to three European diplomats who spoke to the publication, the move also threatens to derail negotiations on extending Ukraine's free-trade access to the EU for another year.

They said a deal had been struck between French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk last week during a meeting at the Weimar Triangle summit in Berlin.

One diplomat highlighted the discrepancy between calls of support issued by the two leaders that day and the joint push to curb imports.

“The member states that are making the biggest show of their support to Ukraine are also the ones doing the most damage to the country,” they said.

The issue of Ukrainian imports will be high on the agenda at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on March 21.

The EU instituted a liberalized trade regime with Ukraine in 2022 to alleviate the country's economy amid Russia's war and the blockade of the Black Sea shipping lanes.

Several EU members, such as Poland, have complained since that imports of Ukrainian agricultural products are pushing down prices and thus threatening domestic farmers.

Polish agricultural workers are currently holding protests in Poland and at the Ukrainian border, blocking several checkpoints.

Kyiv has said it is open to trade restrictions with the EU to defuse tensions with Warsaw but urges bloc-wide import bans on Russian grain.

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