5 Oct 2023 16:32

Moldovan authorities restricting grain imports, as will Romania

CHISINAU. Oct 5 (Interfax) - The Commission for Emergency Situations of Moldova has decided to introduce licensing for the import of wheat, sunflower and corn, the Moldovan Agriculture Ministry's press service said.

"Our goal is to control and monitor grain imports, thereby ensuring the quality and safety of products for consumers. Licensing will help stabilize prices and protect local producers," Agriculture Minister Vladimir Bolea said.

The right to import these agricultural products will be granted only to individuals and companies that produce vegetable oils, enterprises in the flour milling industry and manufacturers of animal feed.

The licensing procedure, according to the ministry, will be valid for the entire period of the state of emergency (active in Moldova since the end of February 2022).

The Agriculture Ministry's announcement does not indicate the reasons for the situation with local grain prices. However, Moldovan farmers have repeatedly protested the problems in the grain market associated with low prices for wheat, corn and sunflowers from neighboring Ukraine. Farmers have complained that due to low prices they were forced to sell their products below cost.

Moldova was planning to introduce an embargo on Ukrainian agricultural products in the spring after the introduction of a similar ban by the countries of Eastern Europe. However, in response, Ukraine threatened to impose a complete trade embargo on Moldova.

Meanwhile, grain shipments from Moldova itself may end up restricted as well, as neighboring Romania intends to introduce import licensing.

"The Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has prepared a draft order on the legal framework for the import of agricultural products from Ukraine and Moldova. It (the framework) provides that Romanian enterprises be able to import four types of goods from Ukraine and Moldova, wheat, corn, sunflower seeds and rapeseed, only after receiving permission from the ministry," Romanian Agriculture Minister Florin Barbu said on social media.

The draft published by the ministry states that the procedure assumes that an economic operator headquartered in Romania intending to import agricultural products originating from Ukraine or Moldova be required to apply to the ministry for an import permit on the basis of a document that proves that operator's need to replenish stocks. The Ministry will issue import permits through the Authorization Commission created under it.