Today: Tuesday, 23 July 2024 year

The EC will present a proposal to extend the free import of goods from Ukraine.

The EC will present a proposal to extend the free import of goods from Ukraine.

The European Commission plans on Wednesday to present a proposal to extend duty-free import of goods from Ukraine, including agricultural products, for another year, until mid-June 2025, EC spokesman Eric Mamer said at a briefing in Brussels.

“Tomorrow proposals for autonomous trade measures regarding Ukraine and Moldova will be presented. The essence of the proposals will be presented after approval by the College of European Commissioners,” he said.

The proposal will be made public against the backdrop of growing mass protests in different EU countries by farmers who are threatening to block European capitals and demanding a change in the pan-European agricultural policy, the lifting of numerous restrictions on farmers, including environmental ones, and a stop to the uncontrolled import of cheap foreign products.

Earlier, European Commission representative Olof Gill said that European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski recently held a meeting with representatives of trade unions of European farmers and agricultural producers who were concerned about the duty-free and uncontrolled import of Ukrainian agricultural products. According to Gill, the proposals of European farmers will be taken into account when deciding to extend (until June 2025) the duty-free import regime for all goods from Ukraine. Gill also indicated that the proposal would include a number of “safety measures.”

The EU suspended tariffs on all goods coming from Ukraine for one year in June 2022 to help Kyiv increase exports, which has led to problems with sales for European farmers. At the end of May 2023, duty-free import was extended for another year, until June 2024.

The trade union of European farmers and agricultural producers COPA-COGECA previously reported that its representatives at a meeting at the European Commission “expressed serious concern about unrestricted imports from Ukraine” and called for “finding constructive solutions to eliminate the (negative ) consequences of trade liberalization with Ukraine.” The meeting was attended by representatives of European producers of sugar, grains and oilseeds, poultry meat and eggs.

European agricultural producers pointed to the “disproportionate and unfair burden placed on the agricultural sector by aid to Ukraine” and warned that if uncontrolled imports of Ukrainian agricultural products continue, “the survival of producers in Europe, as well as the steadfastness of support for Ukraine, will be called into question “.

European agricultural producers have proposed a number of measures in connection with the consideration of extending duty-free imports of goods from Ukraine, including increased efforts to facilitate the export of Ukrainian products through Black Sea ports so that they once again become Ukraine’s main export channel. It is also proposed to make new investments to improve logistics, infrastructure and the functioning of the so-called solidarity routes along which Ukrainian grain is exported.

In addition, EU agricultural producers insist on monitoring the compliance of Ukrainian products with European standards, which should be carried out at the border. It is also proposed to introduce a mandatory requirement to indicate the final destination of Ukrainian agricultural products before crossing the border with the EU. At the same time, a system must be created that would guarantee that Ukrainian agricultural products reach their final destination and do not end up on European territory.

Producers also advocated the introduction of quotas for the most sensitive agricultural products, so that all products in excess of the limits would be exported outside the union.

Since March 2022, the European Commission has launched so-called solidarity routes – land and river routes for the massive export of grain from Ukraine. It was assumed that these supplies would be sent to the world market and would allow Kyiv to receive additional export revenues. In reality, due to problems with logistics, the bulk of exported agricultural products began to settle in EU countries neighboring Ukraine, which by the fall of 2022 led to the beginning of a crisis of agricultural overproduction in these countries.

At the end of March 2023, five EU countries bordering Ukraine (Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) appealed to the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, with a request to intervene in the crisis caused by the influx of grain from Ukraine. The European Commission adopted temporary restrictive measures that were aimed at eliminating logistical difficulties associated with these products in the border states of the union.