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EU provisionally extend duty-free exports of Ukrainian agricultural products

The new agreement reportedly allow the Commission to swiftly impose measures deemed necessary if Ukrainian imports “significantly disrupt” the EU market or markets of one or more member states.
EU Parliament. Credit: ESGtoday
EU provisionally extend duty-free exports of Ukrainian agricultural products

The European Parliament and the Council have preliminarily agreed to extend trade liberalization measures for Ukraine, renewing the temporary suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian agricultural exports to the EU for another year until 5 June 2025.

The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement granted Ukrainian businesses access to the EU market from 2016. After Russia’s 2022 invasion, the EU introduced autonomous trade measures (ATMs) in June 2022, allowing duty-free access for all Ukrainian exports to the EU, which Polish carriers and farmers protested against. These measures were extended by one year in 2023. In January 2024, the EU Commission proposed suspending import duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports for another year, as the current suspension expires on 5 June 2024. The new regulations should take effect immediately after that date.

According to the European Parliament, the new agreement would allow the Commission to swiftly impose measures deemed necessary if Ukrainian imports “significantly disrupt” the EU market or markets of one or more member states.

It also provides an “emergency brake” for sensitive agricultural products like poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, maize, groats, and honey. However, the report states, “If imports of these products surpass the average volumes of these two years, tariffs would be re-imposed.”

The report also states that “EP negotiators ensured that the Commission would act faster – within 14 days instead of 21 days – if trigger levels for the automatic safeguards were reached.”

Parliament and the Council will have to give their final approval to the provisional agreement, which would enter into force immediately after 5 June 2024, when the current suspension expires.

“Today’s agreement reinforces the EU’s unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal, aggressive war until its victory,” said Sandra Kalniete, a member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) from Latvia. “Russia’s targeting of Ukraine and its food production is also impacting EU farmers. The Parliament has heard their concerns and strengthened the safeguard measures that will ease the pressure on EU farmers if they are overwhelmed by a sudden surge of Ukrainian imports.”

Farmers in Poland are reportedly organizing a major strike on 20 March. Protests and road blockades will occur in over a thousand locations across the country. The farmers’ demands include the Polish government’s abandonment of the European Green Deal and a blockade of agricultural products from Ukraine. More than 580 protests have been officially registered across Poland, with the participation of about 70,000 people, Polish National Police reported.

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