Ukraine Optimistic On Resolving Grain Bans Of EU Neighbours

By Reuters
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Ukraine Optimistic On Resolving Grain Bans Of EU Neighbours

Ukraine expressed optimism that a stand-off with neighbouring EU countries that have imposed measures to restrict imports of Ukrainian agricultural products could be resolved, though probably not before a Polish election this month.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports last month after the executive European Commission decided not to extend a ban on imports into Ukraine's five EU neighbours.

The issue has been a rare source of tension between Kyiv and its EU neighbours, particularly Poland, where a nationalist government facing an election on 15 October has otherwise strongly backed Ukraine but says cheap grain hurts Polish farmers.

Taras Kachka, Ukraine's trade representative and deputy economy minister, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Brussels that his country understood the pressures farmers in those countries faced.

"I think that in any case, we will find the solution because, after all, all the details of these puzzles are quite well known," he said.


He added he did not expect a solution in the next few weeks, given Polish politicians were pre-occupied with the election.

Grain Exports

Ukraine, a major global grain producer and exporter, usually relies heavily on its deep Black Sea ports for exports. But its ability to get its goods to the world has been restricted by a de facto Russian blockade, which Moscow imposed after its invasion last year and tightened in July after quitting a UN-backed agreement to allow grain shipments.

Poland and neighbours previously had an arrangement in place that prevented Ukrainian grain being sold there, while allowing it to transit the countries for sale elsewhere.

Ukraine has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation against the three countries, but Kachka stressed this meant that the parties had entered a 60-day period of consultations before any adjudicating panel is formed.


Kachka said there were no requests for licences to export grain to Poland from Ukraine, indicating that there was limited Polish demand for Ukraine's agricultural products and that the pattern of trade flows was normalising to reflect significant demand from other EU members.

Ukraine has been seeking to speed up exports of grain and other farm products under an agreement reached with Lithuania and Poland. Kachka said Ukraine wanted a comprehensive agreement with all neighbours and the European Commission.

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