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Ban on Ukraine's agricultural imports complicates continuation of duty-free trade with EU

Monday, 17 April 2023, 15:14

On Wednesday, 19 April, EU ambassadors should vote to extend duty-free trade with Ukraine until June 2024, but the situation is complicated by Hungary and Poland's ban on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products. 

Source: An EU diplomat, speaking under condition of anonymity, in an interview with RMF FM 

The Polish radio station reports that Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and the Netherlands presented their objections at the meeting of the trade policy committee, which on 30 March gave its opinion on the decision to continue duty-free trade with Ukraine.


Until Wednesday, there is still time for negotiations with the Ukrainian side, as well as between the European Commission and Warsaw. Polish diplomats say they are waiting for the proposals of the European Commission.

Moreover, a diplomat of one of the largest EU countries told RMF FM that the Commission should come up with some kind of proposal to, in his words, "prevent the situation from worsening." However, there is currently no such new offer.

"Five or six countries cannot block the EU's decision to continue duty-free trade with Ukraine, as this requires a qualified majority vote. However, from a political perspective, opposition from countries that are otherwise very supportive of Ukraine would be very bad for the image of the EU due to solidarity with Ukraine, which is fighting for its independence. This would be a serious violation of the unity of the EU," one of the European diplomats says.


  • In January, the European Commission stated that it did not consider the introduction of previously cancelled tariffs on Ukrainian agricultural products, despite the negative impact on farmers in some countries.
  • On 15 April, the Polish government decided to ban the import of grain and other agricultural products from Ukraine until 30 June to protect the Polish agricultural sector.  
  • On 16 April, Hungary also announced a temporary ban on the import of grain and oil-yielding crops from Ukraine.
  • On 17 April, Slovakia also temporarily banned the import of grain and a number of other products from Ukraine.

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