EU extends Ukrainian grain import restrictions

The restriction will be phased out by September 15
calendar icon 6 June 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The European Commission said on Monday it was extending until September 15 an arrangement whereby five of Ukraine's EU neighbours can restrict imports of Ukrainian grain, reported Reuters.

The EU on May 2 allowed the five countries - Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia - to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds while allowing transit through them for export elsewhere, including to other EU countries.

Those restrictions, designed to ease excess supply, were due to expire on Monday. The five countries had sought an extension, complaining cheaper Ukrainian grain was making domestic production unprofitable. Ukraine lobbied for them to be lifted.

The European Commission said in a statement that they would phased out by September 15.

The Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, said bottlenecks and scarce storage capacity persisted and the mid-September phase-out would allow for improvements in getting grain out of Ukraine and through the transit countries.

The restrictions themselves will be more limited, for example no longer applying to sowing seeds.

The EU liberalised all imports from Ukraine for an initial 12 months from June 2022 to help Kyiv's efforts to fend off Russia's invasion. Last month it agreed to extend the tariff suspension for a further year.

The five countries saw a huge rise in imports from Ukraine following the suspension of tariffs.

Ukraine has experienced difficulties exporting through its Black Sea ports because of the war with Russia, increasing its reliance on routes through the eastern EU.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday called for the unconditional removal of all export restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products at talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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