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EU Reaches Revised Agreement on Ukraine Food Imports Amid Concerns Over Market Stability

Ukraine 01.04.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Ambassadors from European Union countries have reached a revised agreement to extend tariff-free food imports from Ukraine, albeit with restrictions, following concerns raised by certain member states about potential disruptions to the EU's agricultural markets, according to Reuters.
EU Reaches Revised Agreement on Ukraine Food Imports Amid Concerns Over Market Stability
The upd ated deal, subject to approval by the European Parliament, addresses some of the concerns raised by member states regarding the original agreement's impact on EU agricultural competitiveness. The agreement, se t to run until June 2025, includes measures aimed at striking a balance between supporting Ukraine's economy and safeguarding EU agricultural markets.

Key revisions to the agreement include a change in the reference period used to determine tariff application thresholds. By expanding the reference period to include the second half of 2021, the agreement aims to lower the ceiling for tariff application on specified products, such as poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, maize, groats, and honey, if imports exceed average levels from previous years.

While the revised agreement is estimated to cost Ukraine approximately 330 million euros ($357 million) annually in revenue, it maintains the overall suspension of tariffs, which holds significant value for Kyiv.

Despite pressure from certain member states, no additional products were added to the list subject to tariffs. However, tensions persist, with some countries, including France and Hungary, advocating for wheat to be included if import levels surpass averages.

The issue of food imports has also strained relations between Ukraine and Poland, with the latter expressing concerns about the impact on domestic farmers' livelihoods. Discussions between Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski and his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Solsky, underscore the divergence in viewpoints, with Ukraine emphasizing a liberal approach to trade while Poland calls for a separation of humanitarian and military aid from food exports to protect farmers in central and eastern Europe.

Polish farmers allege that Ukrainian grain intended for transit often ends up in the domestic market, leading to tensions at the border. However, Ukraine asserts that such disruptions hamper its war efforts against Russia and its economy, refuting claims that a significant portion of its exported grain transits through Poland.
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