15 May 2023 14:10

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria ask EU to extend ban on Ukrainian grain imports until yearend

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) - The agriculture ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have made another appeal to the European Commission, asking to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain imports until the end of this year and to apply it to the contracts concluded before May 2.

The Ukrainian neighbors sent a collective letter to the effect, the Ukrainian media said with the reference to the Polish outlet pap.pl. The neighbors said they appreciate the agreement with the European Commission and the measures taken to mitigate the effect of increased agricultural imports from Ukraine, however, the decisions that took effect on May 2, 2023, might prove inefficient and insufficient.

The letter said that the permission to fulfill the earlier contracts might lead to numerous cases of abuse and the ban would become illusory. The letter points to a serious risk of customs clearance of undated contracts and the lack of effective instruments for the customs to verify and challenge such documents.

The ministers urged the European Commission to urgently find a legally binding solution and to amend the agreement.

They also want the European Commission to confirm that, once the new regulations extending duty-free trade for Ukraine after June 5 for another year take effect, its regulations extending protective measures against four kinds of Ukrainian foods until the end of 2023 would also be enacted.

As reported earlier, the European Commission banned the imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds from Ukraine by Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia between May 2 and June 5, 2023. The European Commission said the "exceptional, temporary preventive measures" were necessary to deal with warehouse overstocking and problems caused by logistics bottlenecks in the five countries. It is still allowed transiting such goods to other EU countries and third states.