EU: Extension for one year to import Ukrainian agricultural products free of customs duties

The extension of the import of agricultural products without the approval of the Committee on Commerce of the European Parliament today (7.3.2024), rejecting amendments that would restrict them. The European Commission proposed that the suspension of customs duties on Ukraine and quotas should continue until June 2025, which was approved by the Committee on Trade by 26 votes in favour, 10 against and one abstention. In response to European farmers’ protests, the proposal also introduces an ’emergency helmet’ for poultry, eggs and sugar. This means that duties will be imposed again if imports exceed the average level of 2022 and 2023. The aim is to reassure Polish farmers and truck drivers, who have ruled out border crossings with Ukraine since November and say they are facing unfair competition from cheaper, Ukrainian, imported products. Poland may extend the ban on imports of Ukrainian cereals to other products. Kiev says it has stopped exporting “sensitive” agricultural products to Poland and that 95% of Ukraine’s exports are made through the Black Sea. Import duties and quotas on Ukrainian agricultural products were lifted in 2022, following the Russian invasion. The plenary of the European Parliament is expected to approve the extension next week and its final adoption by the Member States will follow. MEPs from centre-right parties, particularly Romania and Poland, had proposed many amendments, but where they were rejected. The largest association of agricultural associations, COPA-COGECA, argued that MEPs disappointed farmers, rejecting possible improvements in the import regime. The Commission approved a similar extension for imports of agricultural products from Moldova. Source: RES – ICM