EU countries agree to extend import tariff suspension for Ukraine

Sensitive farm products include meat, dairy and some cereals
calendar icon 28 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

EU governments agreed on Friday to extend by a year the suspension of duties and quotas on imports from Ukraine to help its economy during the war with Russia, reported Reuters.

Sweden, which holds the six-month rotating EU presidency, said EU ambassadors had agreed to the extension at a meeting on Friday. The European Union lifted tariffs for an initial 12 months in June 2022.

The suspension of all duties has led to complaints from farming groups, culminating in Poland and Hungary banning some Ukraine grain imports earlier this month.

Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine was already benefiting from the elimination of the vast majority of EU tariffs, in some cases with transition periods, under the EU-Ukraine free trade agreement applied since 2016.

However, the EU did retain tariffs and quotas under that agreement on the most sensitive farm products from Ukraine such as meat, dairy, sugar and some cereals.

The European Commission has now proposed paying compensation to farmers in five countries bordering Ukraine as well as allowing those countries to bar domestic sales of certain grains from Ukraine, while allowing their transit for export elsewhere.

The countries became transit routes for Ukrainian grain that could not be exported through its Black Sea ports.

The European Parliament's trade committee overwhelmingly backed suspending import duties for another year on Thursday ahead of a full assembly vote in May.

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