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Poland Eyes Solution To Ukraine Grain Dispute Similar To Romania, Bulgaria Deals: Source

By Reuters
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Poland Eyes Solution To Ukraine Grain Dispute Similar To Romania, Bulgaria Deals: Source

Poland is eyeing a licensing deal for agricultural trade with Ukraine similar to one agreed with Kyiv by Romania and Bulgaria, an official familiar with the matter said, to try to end a dispute with Kyiv and halt protests at Ukraine's border.

Poland's new prime minister, Donald Tusk, has said he will visit Kyiv as Warsaw pushes to repair ties with Ukraine - which aspires to join the EU and NATO as it fights a war against an invading Russia - strained under his nationalist predecessors.

Warsaw and Kyiv have been at odds over cheap Ukrainian grain exports to Poland, and via Poland to the rest of the European Union, with Polish truck drivers and farmers blocking several border crossings for weeks.

The previous government in Warsaw was accused by some in the EU hub Brussels and by political rivals at home of stalling efforts to reach an agreement with Kyiv before last October's parliamentary election in Poland.

Import-Export Licensing System

Both countries have since said they would seek to overcome their differences. The official familiar with the plans said Warsaw was thinking of a similar import-export licensing system that Bucharest and Sofia negotiated with Kyiv.

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In Romania, Ukrainian exporters and local importers need to be licensed, with the latter required to prove they cannot cover their needs with national production. No intermediaries can received the licence.

"That's the path towards an agreement," said the official, who spoke under condition of anonymity. "We can help Ukraine without causing damage to Polish farmers and businesses."

Alternative routes have been important for Ukraine's exports since Russia's war has hindered the usual Black Sea route. Eastern EU countries say they face unfair competition from Ukraine's farm produce since it is not subject to higher standards applied in the bloc.

Kyiv complained to the World Trade Organisation after Poland, Slovakia and Hungary imposed unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian imports, despite EU criticism.

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