EU lawmakers back Ukraine food import extension, with curbs

Tariffs set for poultry, eggs
calendar icon 24 April 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

The European Parliament voted on Tuesday to back a year-long extension to tariff-free trade for Ukrainian farm produce, while introducing new curbs on the level of imports to assuage protesting EU farmers, reported Reuters.

The parliament voted by 428 votes to 131 with 44 abstentions in favour of the extension, which will now apply from June 6 after clearing this final procedural hurdle.

Why it's important

The tariff liberalisation, dating from June 2022, was designed to help keep Ukraine's economy afloat as it battles Russia's invasion.

The curbs means Ukraine will earn 331 million euros ($353.2 million) less from exports to the EU than in 2023, compared with 240 million in an original European Commission proposal, according to EU diplomats.


What might have been a routine roll-over, initially proposed in January, turned into a drawn-out debate on the new curbs as protests by EU farmers mounted, notably in Poland

The initial European Commission proposal stipulated that tariffs should kick in on poultry, eggs and sugar if imports exceeded the average levels of 2022 and 2023.

EU lawmakers added oats, groats, maize and honey to the list, while France and Poland pushed for the reference period to calculate the average to include 2021, the year before Russia's invasion when Ukraine farm produce was lower because of tariffs.

Eventually, a compromise was found to include just the second half of 2021.

This will be the last roll-over. The EU and Ukraine aim to put in a longer term arrangement from June 2025.

($1 = 0.9370 euros)

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