Ukraine is planning to take legal action against Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia in the World Trade Organization (WTO) due to their bans on Ukrainian agricultural products, according to Ukrainian officials. The appeal is expected to be submitted soon and comes after the three countries implemented import bans on Ukraine’s key export commodities.
Earlier on Monday, Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka stated in an interview with Politico that Kyiv intends to sue Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia over the trade restrictions. In May, the European Union imposed restrictions that allowed Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia to ban the domestic sale of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds, while still permitting transit for export purposes.
Following the European Commission’s decision not to extend the ban on imports into Ukraine’s neighboring EU countries, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary announced their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports. Warsaw, Bratislava, and Budapest claim that these measures are in the best interests of their economies and farmers.
Kachka also mentioned that Ukraine could impose reciprocal measures on the import of fruit and vegetables from Poland if Warsaw does not lift its additional restrictions. Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus stated that the ban covers four cereals and has been extended to include meals made from these cereals, such as corn, wheat, and rapeseed.
Radoslaw Fogiel, the head of Poland’s parliamentary foreign affairs commission, warned that Ukraine’s decision to sue would have negative consequences for Poland and urged Ukraine to consider this. He emphasized that the ban is not targeted at Ukraine but rather aims to protect Polish farmers and the country’s interests.
The EU allowed its ban to expire on Friday after Ukraine pledged to tighten control over exports to neighboring countries. Kachka stated that Kyiv is prepared to take responsibility for ensuring that exports from Ukraine do not negatively impact neighboring countries and plans to implement a system of real-time export licenses for grains.
According to data from the farm ministry, during the first three months of the 2023/24 July-June season, 1.4 million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products were transported by train out of the country, out of a total export volume of 4.5 million tons. Ukraine primarily ships grain by train through crossings with Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. Additionally, Ukraine exported an additional 1 million tons of oils and oilseeds by rail.
In conclusion, Ukraine is pursuing legal action against Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia in the WTO over their bans on Ukrainian agricultural products. The country is also considering reciprocal measures on the import of fruit and vegetables from Poland. The EU ban on Ukrainian grain imports expired after Ukraine promised to tighten export controls. Ukraine aims to implement a real-time export licensing system for grains to prevent negative impacts on neighboring countries.
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