19 Sep 2023 15:24

Ukraine to ban certain imports from Poland, Hungary unless they lift agrifood import restrictions - PM Shmygal

MOSCOW. Sept 19 (Interfax) - Ukraine should ban imports of certain goods from Poland and Hungary if these two countries do not comply with the measures agreed upon with the European Commission and do not revoke their unilateral bans on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said.

"Ukraine will sue Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia at the World Trade Organization over their unilateral restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products. At the same time, our government is offering the EU and the neighboring countries a compromise scenario. We have already submitted our action plan for controlling exports of four groups of agricultural produce from Ukraine to the European Commission," Ukrainian media reported with reference to Shmygal's Telegram post on Tuesday.

This control should help prevent any market distortions in the EU member states neighboring Ukraine, Shmygal said.

"In particular, we're planning to adopt a resolution stipulating that products exported to the five neighboring countries would require verification and clearance from the Ukrainian Economy Ministry," he said.

Ukraine has sent a formal inquiry to Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia regarding a violation of World Trade Organization norms, Shmygal said.

"We are also starting an anti-discrimination investigation against unfriendly steps by these countries in the trade sector based on 2023 statistics. If Poland and Hungary do not consent to the measures agreed upon with the European Commission and do not revoke their unilateral bans with regard to our products, we will make a decision on banning imports of certain categories of goods from said countries into Ukraine," he said.

A continued embargo on Ukraine's agrarian exports by its neighbors would deal a blow to the economy, finances, tax collection, and jobs, he said.

"We are calling on our neighbors once again to lift their harmful and unlawful restrictions and their political populism and embark on a path of constructive dialogue, which would truly benefit everyone," he said.

As reported, the European Commission announced on September 15 that it would not extend restrictions on imports of agricultural produce from Ukraine to the five neighboring EU countries, i.e. Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, based on certain conditions to avoid a sharp hike in supplies.

The EU had imposed restrictions on imports of Ukrainian wheat, rapeseed, sunflower, and corn to the five countries on May 2. Those countries insisted that duty-free shipments of Ukrainian agrifood to the EU flooded their markets and damaged their agricultural sector.

After the EU lifted the restrictions, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia imposed unilateral bans. Moreover, Poland has added rapeseed cake and grist, corn bran, wheat flour, and their derivatives to the import ban list, and Hungary has extended its list to 24 items.