EU to continue duty-free trade with Ukraine rejecting Polish calls for tariff reinstatement

Polish Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski
Polish Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski

The European Commission plans to offer EU countries an extension of the duty-free trade regime with Ukraine until June 2025, dismissing Poland's proposal to reinstate tariffs on some "sensitive products," Polish Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski said in an interview with Business Insider Polska on Jan. 17.

Other measures to restrict Ukrainian agricultural exports, such as licensing, are still under discussion, Siekierski said.

Read also: Poland maintains Ukraine grain import ban, proposes new trade rules to EU

"The embargo introduced on agricultural products from Ukraine calmed down the situation on the Polish market to some extent, but it was poorly received in a political sense,” he said.

“The European Commission and Ukraine are protesting. This confirms that the EU is preparing draft regulation that would extend duty-free trade with Ukraine to June 2025."

A growing number of EU countries are advocating for the reintroduction of tariffs on Ukrainian agricultural products, the Polish minister said.

Read also: Polish truckers unblock two border crossings with Ukraine after deal with government

"The negative effects of Ukrainian imports are gaining attention in Western European countries, extending beyond cereals.”.

The opening the European market to Ukrainian agricultural products could completely destabilize both the domestic and European markets, Siekierski said, claiming that three-quarters of Ukrainian grain exports were directed to neighboring countries, causing significant market disruptions.

The Polish ministry would like to introduce a mechanism that would protect Polish farmers.

France, Austria, and Germany are among the countries that are discussing the supposed threat posed by Ukrainian agricultural products to grain, poultry, fruit, and sugar markets.

"We want to develop a way to protect against the negative impacts of imports of agricultural products from Ukraine that is acceptable to all participants,” the minister said.

One Polish proposal includes the introduction of a 'protective reservation' that would allow the imposition of protective measures if market problems affects a specific EU member state or region, according to Siekierski

Read also: Moldova offers major discount on transit of Ukrainian grain until end of 2024

Siekierski also mentioned a Ukrainian proposal to license exports of agricultural products to Poland, suggesting that, with appropriate support from the European Commission, such a decision could be acceptable.

The EU officially abolished all fees and duties on Ukrainian exports destined for the European market in June 2022. On April 27, 2023, the abolition of duties was extended for another year.

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