Poland, Hungary Stop Imports of Grain and Food from Ukraine
- April 17, 2023
- Posted by: Quatro Strategies
- Category: Agribusiness
Poland and Hungary decided to ban imports of grain and other food products from Ukraine to protect local agriculture, the two governments said on Saturday after a flood of supply depressed prices across eastern Europe. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, large quantities of Ukrainian grains, which are cheaper than European Union products, ended up staying in central and eastern European states due to logistical bottlenecks, causing prices to plummet and hit sales of local farmers. In a letter to the European Commission last month, the prime ministers of five eastern European countries said the scale of the increase in products like grains, oilseeds, eggs, poultry and sugar had been “unprecedented”, and said tariffs on Ukrainian agricultural imports should potentially be considered.
Ukraine said it regrets Poland’s decision, adding that “resolving various issues by unilateral drastic actions will not accelerate a positive resolution of the situation”.
The impact of the oversupply has created a political problem for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) in an election year, with the economy mired in stagflation.
“Today, the government has decided on a regulation that prohibits the entry, importation of grain into Poland, but also dozens of other types of food (from Ukraine),” PiS leader Kaczynski said during a party convention.
Kaczynski said the list of goods in the government regulation would include many products.
Ukraine’s ministry of agrarian policy and food said the Polish ban contradicted existing bilateral agreements on exports, and called for talks to settle the issue.
“We understand that Polish farmers are in a difficult situation, but we emphasize that Ukrainian farmers are in the most difficult situation right now,” it said in a statement.
Later on Saturday, Hungarian government imposed its own ban, saying the status quo would cause severe damage to local farmers.
Hungary did not give details on when its ban on grain and other food imports would go into effect, but said it will expire at the end of June.
Hungary’s government said it hoped for changes in regulation at the EU level, including a re-thinking of the elimination of import duties on Ukrainian produce.
Poland’s Kaczynski said: “We are and remain unchanged friends and allies of Ukraine. We will support her and we support her. … But it is the duty of every state, every authority, good authority in any case, to protect the interests of its citizens.”
Kaczynski underlined that Poland was ready to start talks with Ukraine to settle the grain issue.
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