Kyiv acted on a ‘compromise’ plan after filing a WTO trade complaint over the food ban GraciaAfrika News

A truck filled with corn is seen at a grain storage facility in Bilohiria village

A truck filled with corn is seen at a grain storage facility in Bilohiria village, Khmelnytskyi region, Ukraine April 19, 2023. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo Obtained License

  • Three EU countries have restricted Ukrainian wheat imports
  • These measures were introduced after the EU voted to lift restrictions
  • Ukraine sued three EU member states at the WTO

KYIV, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Ukraine on Tuesday called on its three European Union neighbors to start a “constructive dialogue” to end a dispute over agricultural trade, and agree to a so-called “compromise scenario”.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced restrictions on imports from Ukraine on Friday after the European Commission decided not to extend a sales ban to Ukraine’s five EU neighbors, which also include Romania and Bulgaria.

The governments of Poland, Slovakia and Hungary say their measures are intended to protect farmers and their national economies from a surge in grain and food imports from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion last year.

A World Trade Organization spokesperson confirmed that Ukraine had taken the first step in the trade dispute by filing a complaint with the global trade body.

“We can confirm that a consultation request was received late Monday. Further information will be provided once the request is circulated to our members,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response to a Reuters request for comment.

He did not name the countries although Kyiv previously said the complaint targeted Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal later explained Kyiv’s position in comments on the Telegram messaging app.

He confirmed that Kyiv would impose retaliatory import restrictions on certain categories of goods from Poland and Hungary if they did not lift its unilateral ban. Ukraine, meanwhile, is conducting an investigation to show that the unilateral ban was discriminatory, he said.

Shmyhal said Kyiv had proposed to the European Commission, the EU executive and neighboring countries a plan for export controls on four groups of agricultural products to prevent market distortions – a plan he described as a compromise scenario.

“We once again call on our neighboring countries to abandon dangerous and illegal restrictions, political populism, and embark on a constructive path of dialogue, so that everyone will benefit from it,” he said.


Signaling its intention to move forward with the compromise proposal on Tuesday, the Ukrainian government approved the implementation of export permits for a number of agricultural products to be exported to Ukraine’s five neighboring countries in the European Union.

“The Ukrainian government approved new procedures for exporting certain types of products to certain EU member states,” the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

“The regulation stipulates that four crops – corn, rapeseed, sunflower seeds, wheat, which are exported to 5 countries – must obtain permission from the economy ministry in accordance with the agreement with the agriculture ministry.”

The ministry said Kyiv will agree on the list and volumes of products with importing countries, which in turn will determine whether they are ready to accept the goods, in what volumes and in what timeframe.

“Only after that do we issue permits to our companies to export certain products. Ukraine controls its exports and coordinates them with recipient countries,” he added.

Russia’s war on Ukraine has disrupted Kyiv’s ability to export agricultural products through Black Sea ports, leading to a surge in shipments by road, rail and barge through its five European Union neighbors.

Farmers in those countries said these shipments distorted local markets, so the EU agreed to trade restrictions – but allowed transit – until September 15.

The EU did not extend the restrictions last Friday, but Warsaw, Bratislava and Budapest announced their own import restrictions.

Spain’s Agriculture Minister on Monday said the ban appeared to be illegal, while France’s Agriculture Minister said it called into question European solidarity.

Additional reporting by Emma Farge and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Geneva, and by Anna Pruchnicka, Editing by Timothy Heritage and William Maclean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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