Commodity news

EU countries bordering Ukraine to ban Ukraine grain imports

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria recently adopted unilateral decisions to impose import restrictions on Ukrainian grain and oilseeds.

April 20, 2023

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria recently adopted unilateral decisions to impose import restrictions on Ukrainian grain and oilseeds, as well as other feedstuffs imports.

Due to the block of some Black Sea ports after the Russia-Ukraine conflict, large quantities of Ukrainian grain, cheaper than EU-produced ones, ended up in Central European countries due to logistical bottlenecks, lowering prices and reducing sales of local farmers.

Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission executive vice president and Janusz Wojciechowski, European Commissioner for Agriculture, met with the five member states bordering Ukraine and Ukraine and presented the EU proposed Commission package. It includes a second tranche of agricultural financial support to affected farmers, exceptional safeguard measures on key products and measures to facilitate the transit of Ukrainian grain exports via the Solidarity Lanes.

The Commission's proposed package is subject to member states lifting their unilateral measures. “We agreed to continue political consultations in the coming days in view of a swift solution,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Call for rapid solutions

FEFAC, representing the EU compound feed and premix manufacturers, urges the EU Council Presidency and the European Commission to seek rapid and effective solutions to tackle these decisions.

Asbjørn Børsting, FEFAC president, stated that “current decisions taken at a national level are undermining the integrity of the Single Market and the reliability of the EU as a trading partner, which could lead to further market destabilization, in particular for feedstuffs for which there are no domestic alternative supplies.”

He noted that “serious doubts remain about the practical feasibility of some of the proposed temporary bans and ‘in transit’ arrangements, which could result in more market disturbances, just at a time when the EU feed sector needs more market stability, predictability, and legal certainty on the implementation of the EU Trade and Agricultural policy framework to maintain a level playing field for market operators.”

“The EU previously agreed to act with a single voice when tackling emerging feed and food security issues, a ‘hard lesson’ learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and at the outbreak of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Joint EU action led to the strengthening of EU feed and food sector resilience through respective Single Market Defence and Trade policy mechanisms and tools including the EU Green Lanes and Solidarity Lanes, as well as related EU financial measures such as State Aid provisions and the EU crisis management fund,” Børsting recalled.

FEFAC calls on the EU Council Presidency and the EU Commission to act speedily, addressing concerns raised by EU border countries. “The EU should consider using relevant CAP & trade instruments, without undermining the functioning of the Single Market and the EU's trade policy. The EU needs to safeguard market access to essential supplies of feed grains and vegetable protein meals to the EU feed and livestock sector, in order to reduce market distortion and volatility resulting from the unilateral import restrictions,” FEFAC concluded.