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Trade chief: Ukraine freezes WTO action against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 5, 2023 9:23 PM 3 min read
Trade Representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka attends a news conference on June 8, 2021, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Pavlo_Bagmut/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Kyiv "put on hold" its complaint against Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary over grain agreements at the World Trade Organization, Ukraine's Trade Representative Taras Kachka said on Oct. 5, as cited by Interfax Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Kachka said that the grain dispute at the WTO hasn't started yet, as Ukraine is still in the stage of consultations, which can last up to 60 days.

Kyiv wants to find a "constructive solution (on agricultural imports) within the framework of the entire EU," the trade chief told reporters, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

"Despite the fact that the complaints we sent are against specific member states, including Poland, this is a systemic issue of our relations with the bloc. Our goal is to confirm that the EU and Ukraine have the same approach to trade agreements," Kachka added.

Duda: Grain dispute will not disrupt good relations between Poland, Ukraine
The disagreement over grain exports should not upend Polish-Ukrainian relations, Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Sept. 22.

After Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia decided to implement their own bans on Ukrainian grain imports on Sept. 16 despite the European Commission's decision to end the four-month embargo, Kyiv said it would sue the countries at the WTO.

Kachka told Politico on Sept. 18 that the unilateral import bans are not just an internal matter for the EU but "the biggest systemic concern" of whether international trade partners can trust that Brussels speaks on behalf of the union.

Ministry: Ukraine, Slovakia agree on grain trade system to replace ban
Ukraine and Slovakia have agreed to create a licensing system for their grain trade, which could lift Slovakia’s import ban on certain Ukrainian products, the Slovak Agriculture Ministry told Reuters on Sept. 21.

Earlier in May, the EU imposed restrictions that allowed Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria to ban the domestic sale of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seed while still permitting the transit of these products for exports elsewhere.

The nations requested the measure due to fears from local farmers that cheap Ukrainian imports would drive down agriculture prices.

Ukraine’s grain overload sours country’s relationship with key allies
Negotiations over a European import ban on Ukrainian grain between the European Commission and its eastern flank members were stalled as of April 23. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria asked to extend protection measures after the EU’s one-year decision to abolish customs duties, whil…
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