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EU countries agree to extend import tariff suspension for Ukraine

“We have finalized agreements with the EU regarding the ban on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine, which led to destabilization in the Polish market. The voice of Poland, supported by the voices of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, has been heard in the EU,” said PM Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday.

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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.

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.

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“On my way here, I spoke with Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis; I informed him about the decision of the Polish government, which is consistent with the agreement with farmers,” the Polish PM said.

He added that Poland’s voice, reinforced by the voices of other countries in the region – Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria – “has been heard in the EU, and an agreement between us and the European Commission regarding agriculture will be concluded literally in these days.”

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.

On April 20, the Ministers of Agriculture of Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary sent a letter to the European Commission regarding the necessary steps to be taken to counter disruptions in the markets of EU member states most affected by increased imports of agri-food products from Ukraine.

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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.

Since April 15, the Polish border has been closed for cereals and goods imported from Ukraine. According to the regulation of the Minister of Development and Technology, the transportation of goods through Poland is possible based on EU transit regulations or based on the Convention on a Common Transit Procedure, provided that transit through our country ends at seaports in Gdańsk, Gdynia, Świnoujście, Szczecin, and Kołobrzeg or outside the territory of the Republic of Poland.

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