Ukraine's farm unions ask government to protect free EU market access

EU extends import duty suspension on Ukraine exports
calendar icon 6 February 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Ukrainian agrarian unions have asked the government to do everything possible to maintain free access to the European market for their food products, Reuters reported, citing the UCAB association on Monday.

The European Commission last week said it would extend the suspension of import duties on Ukrainian exports, originally put in place to support the economy after Russia's invasion two years ago, for another year to June 2025.

However, it also proposed measures to limit agricultural imports from Ukraine and offer greater flexibility on rules for fallow land in a bid to quell protests by angry farmers in France and other EU members.

"These preferences were particularly important for Ukraine's agricultural sector... enabling Ukrainian exporters to maintain production and jobs and ensure foreign exchange earnings in 2022-2023," the UCAB business association said on Facebook.

UCAB said exports of food products in 2023 totalled $21.9 billion and accounted for 61% of all exports from Ukraine.

At the same time, the EU's share of total agricultural products from Ukraine in 2023 reached 56.6% or $12.4 billion.

UCAB said that the issue of maintaining the most open access to the EU market would be vital for the country's trade balance in the coming years and the survival of Ukraine's agricultural sector.

"The agricultural community calls on the authorities to facilitate the continuation of preferential access to the EU market for Ukrainian agricultural products and to establish a direct dialogue with European partners," it noted.

The EU suspended import duties, quotas and trade defence measures in June 2022 but cheap Ukrainian grain exports have since sparked protests by governments, farmers and truckers in neighbouring countries such as Poland and Hungary.

Ukraine is a global producer and exporter of agricultural products and has traditionally used sea routes to supply food to countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

However, after the Russian invasion blocked the country's main Black Sea ports, Ukraine was forced to divert its cargoes through land borders with some goods settling in neighbouring markets and depressing prices.

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.