28 Mar 2024 12:32

Poland views Ukraine's stance at agricultural import talks as inconsistent

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) - Ukraine's wish to keep the trade liberalization terms proposed by the European Commission in place complicates bilateral negotiations on food trade, and Poland believes that import restrictions are necessary, Polish Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski said.

According to Ukrainian media, he said so at a conference summing up the first 100 days of the Polish government on Wednesday.

"Numerous bilateral negotiations have been held with Ukraine. Those negotiations were difficult [...], the Ukrainian side is eager to keep [...] the trade liberalization terms proposed by the European Commission in place, as it views them as a form of assistance important to Ukraine and a condition that needs to be agreed on. Meanwhile, we, the Agriculture Ministry, call for distinguishing between humanitarian aid, military assistance and economic support in the comprehensive approach," Siekierski said.

For instance, farmers in border regions are not overburdened by the costs of trade liberalization. Therefore, the Polish side is negotiating licensing to ensure a certain balance that would make the terms beneficial to both parties, he said.

As for negotiations on licensing the import of Ukrainian agricultural products, Siekierski said that licensing is a form of trade in which licenses are issued by the Ukrainian side.

"We had far-reaching negotiations, but we also have significant disagreements, because the Ukrainian side talks about licensing only those products that are subject to the embargo, and we would like to cover other products, for example, raspberries. The Ukrainians answer that they will license frozen Polish vegetables in that case," he said.

"It is very difficult to talk with partners who do not keep the agreements," Polish Deputy Agriculture Minister Michal Kolodziejczak, who is taking part in negotiations with Ukraine, said. In his words, Ukrainian Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka said in an interview with the Financial Times on March 4 that Ukraine would be able to limit the amount of its products imported by Poland and the EU if Poland limits Russian grain imports by the EU.

"We need to limit such transit considerably in order to settle the situation on the domestic market. We will be doing that in an effective manner, and further negotiations will serve this goal," Kolodziejczak said.

In his words, the transit of Ukrainian agricultural goods has been cut. The main focus of the Polish government is on the import of corn and wheat. Kolodziejczak believes that low grain prices are the result of trade in both Russian and Ukrainian grain.

"The Polish Agriculture Ministry is doing everything to meet its obligations to Polish farmers," he said.