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Ukraine's agribusiness asks EP to extend preferential trade in agricultural goods – UAC

KYIV. Jan 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – It is important for Ukraine to maintain and further extend the preferential regime for the export and transit of Ukrainian agricultural products, which expires on June 5, 2023, since the agricultural sector is a key component of the Ukrainian economy, the basis of Ukrainian exports and a guarantor of foreign exchange earnings from trade in the conditions of the Russian military invasion.

As reported on the website of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council (UAC), with a corresponding request, its head Andriy Dykun addressed Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament Norbert Lins during a video link.

According to the UAC, Ukraine is asking for an extension of the export special regime due to Poland’s proposal to introduce previously existing duties on the export of Ukrainian corn, chicken and apples, as well as the introduction of strict control of grain imported from Ukraine, including feed.

" The cancellation of the preferential regime for Ukrainian producers in the context of war, when the agricultural sector is suffering from losses due to constant missile attacks by the aggressor, crop losses and the inability to conduct a full spring sowing season due to millions of hectares of minefields, and Russia’s blocking of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, is a blow to the state’s economy and a threat to the future of Ukraine," Dykun is quoted in the UAC address to the chairman of the EP Committee.

He also cited data according to which, Before Russia’s war against Ukraine, the agricultural sector accounted for 20% of the country’s GDP. In 2022, it became the basis of Ukrainian exports and a guarantor of foreign exchange earnings from trade. Agricultural products accounted for 53% of total exports, and the total value of products, according to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, amounted to more than $23 billion.

In turn, Lins said that most MEPs support the course of EU market liberalization chosen for Ukraine, despite all the difficulties that arise, in particular for Ukraine’s neighbors, starting with Poland.

"According to Poland, the export of Ukrainian grain brings down the prices of their products, and this is a real problem, so we will look for the ways to solve this issue and tools to compensate for the losses of Polish farmers to continue to help Ukraine," Lins is quoted by the UAC.

During the conversation, Dykun and Lins agreed that the situation when Ukraine cannot fully export grain only through the Black Sea ports and must carry out logistics, in particular through the territory of Poland, affects the domestic market of its neighboring countries. However, during the war, the preferential treatment of Ukrainian agricultural goods should continue.

According to the UAC, the parties also discussed the creation of an international fund to restore Ukraine’s agricultural sector. The purpose of the fund is to provide guarantees to commercial banks so that farmers from the de-occupied territories can take out loans to rebuild farms destroyed by Russians, destroyed or stolen equipment, and restore livestock.

As reported, on May 19, 2022, the European Parliament supported the abolition of EU import duties on all Ukrainian exports for one year to support the country’s economy in the face of the Russian military invasion.