21 Nov 2023 16:08

Agriculture to be subject of hard talks on Ukraine's accession to EU - commissioner

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) - Agriculture will be a subject of challenging negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union, European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski said at an EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Wojciechowski said that, since the start of the crisis and the lifting of customs barriers, the EU market in general and the EU countries neighboring Ukraine in particular have been the largest recipients of Ukrainian food, Ukrainian media have reported with reference to the Polish publication polskieradio24.pl.

Over this time, Ukraine's exports to EU countries grew in monetary terms to 13 billion euros from 7 billion euros, he said.

"What adds to the problem is that most of the exports, worth 5 billion euros, ended up in the five neighboring countries, including Poland. We should not only observe this but also respond sometimes," Wojciechowski said.

The main destinations of Ukrainian exports before the crisis were Asian and African markets. "Now Europe is receiving most of it," and therefore, negotiations on agricultural exports will be challenging, he said.

Corridors via which Ukrainian goods are shipped to the EU or its ports play an important role, Wojciechowski said. According to his estimates, 44.4 million tonnes of grain had been shipped via these as of September 2023.

"Ukraine's monthly export needs in terms of all grain crops are about 4.7 million tonnes. The record throughput capacity of the Solidarity Lanes was 4 million tonnes," he said.

These figures show that all Ukrainian products can be exported via this route, while there is a need also to find new destinations of such transit, Wojciechowski said.