21 Apr 2023 16:09

Romania won't ban, but try to reduce imports of Ukrainian grain

MOSCOW. April 21 (Interfax) - Romania will not unilaterally ban the import of Ukrainian grain and intends to wait until the European Commission undertakes measures to help farmers in Central and Eastern Europe, Ukrainian media reported citing Romanian Minister of Agriculture Petre Dea as saying on Friday in Bucharest at a meeting with Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solsky.

"We are in solidarity with farmers from Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia, but we must develop rules together, and not compete in legal decisions. In this context, the rules of normality that we used to know have disappeared. We are forced to create new rules that meet needs of both Ukrainian and Romanian farmers," Dea was quoted as saying on digi24.ro.

The Romanian minister invited his Ukrainian counterpart to hold weekly consultations on expected grain volumes in order to try to limit imports.

Romania, together with the Agrarian Ministers of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, sent a letter to the European Commission to the Vice-President in charge of trade policy and the Commissioner for Agriculture, asking them to undertake urgent measures to solve the problem on the basis of mutual agreement in light of the "unique context" based on "the rules of respect for all parties involved," the Romanian minister said.

The Romanian minister recalled that compensation in the amount of 100 million euros would be provided to Eastern European countries. "The amount for Romania is small, does not meet the needs of farmers and is not proportional to the efforts that Romania has made to clear the area for the transport of grains and oilseeds," he said.

According to Dea, the European Commission did not respond to the request from the Eastern European agrarian ministers to suspend the import of four crops from Ukraine (wheat, corn, sunflower and rapeseed) until June 5, given the "exclusivity of the protection procedure."

The Ministers of Agriculture of Romania and Ukraine held online discussions on April 19, during which the Romanian side said it had taken steps to strengthen quality checks of customs goods imported from Ukraine. The checks will be coordinated through the European ANSVSA system. Romania will also take additional security measures when transporting products through its territory to third countries.

Dea asked the Ukrainian minister to use all the means at his disposal to reduce the export of grains and oilseeds to Romania, directing exports through transit routes.

Earlier in April, after a congress of farmers, Poland banned the import of agricultural products from Ukraine. Ministers from five countries - Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania - managed to have a meeting with representatives of the European Commission, at which they presented lists of Ukrainian agricultural products, which they intend to ban for import. The European Commission reminded them of the inadmissibility of making unilateral decisions and recommended that they agree on measures. Another meeting will be held soon to resolve this issue.

Within a week, a government delegation from Ukraine consisting of First Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Yulia Sviridenko and Agrarian Policy Minister Solsky visited all European border countries and held talks with them. The result was permission for the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products across the territories of all the countries.

The Ministry of Agrarian Policy at an April 19 meeting at the logistics headquarters, explained the new transit rules with enhanced controls to businesses. On Friday, the ministry's website published a list of products prohibited for export to Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Polish prohibitive measures apply to cereals, sugar, dry foods, hops, flax and hemp seeds, vegetables and fruits, as well as products made from their processing; wines and ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb, chicken), milk and dairy products, eggs, bee products and some other products. The ban is in force until June 30.

Slovakia included wheat, barley, oats, corn, sorghum, buckwheat, sugar beets, cane and beet sugar, isoglucose, molasses, flour products, malt, starch, wheat gluten, soybeans, flax seeds, rapeseed, sunflower and other oilseeds, vegetables and fruits, as well as products made from their processing; hemp, wine and wine vinegar, ethyl alcohol and bee products. The ban came into effect on April 17.

Hungary has imposed a ban on imports of certain agricultural products from Ukraine for the period from April 18 to July 1. For goods that are in transit through the territory of Hungary, the period of stay in the country is set at no more than seven days from date of entry. A seal must be placed on the cargo and its movement subsequently monitored using toll payment systems on toll roads and cargo measurement systems on the vehicle axle. For violations of the order, a fine of 100% of the value of the goods (excluding VAT) will be imposed. Goods in transit are subject to registration in the electronic traffic control system.

The order of the Hungarian government "On measures related to the transportation of certain agricultural products that originate from Ukraine" contains a list of Ukrainian agricultural products prohibited for import, including wheat, rye and their mixture, corn, sunflower, buckwheat, millet and other cereals, flour, fresh, chilled and frozen beef, pork, lamb, poultry meat and by-products / offal from it, eggs, honey, frozen, canned and fresh vegetables, rapeseed, various types of oils, cane and beet sugar, bread and confectionery, wine and grape must.

Bulgaria introduced a ban from April 24 to June 30 on the imports of agricultural products from Ukraine. Wheat and flour, rye, barley, oats, sorghum, buckwheat, soybeans, sunflower and sunflower oil, corn, rapeseed, flax seeds, honey and bee products, raw, powdered milk and milk concentrate, forest and walnuts were on the banned list as well as eggs, chicken meat, pork, lamb, starches, inulin and wheat gluten, wine and wine vinegar, and ethyl alcohol.

Romania is considering temporarily suspending imports of certain types of agricultural products from Ukraine, but a decision has not yet been made.