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EU farm chief: Bloc near ending Ukraine import standoff

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BRUSSELS — The European Union’s high farm official stated Tuesday that the bloc was on the cusp of ending a harmful inner standoff over a destabilizing glut of Ukraine farm imports by granting 5 japanese member states the precise to quickly ban essentially the most contentious produce.

Resolving the problem rapidly would enable the EU to keep up a unified stance within the face of Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski stated after daylong talks among the many 27 farm ministers that the EU is near permitting Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania a brief import ban on 5 farm merchandise that make up the overwhelming mass of exports from Ukraine which have flooded their markets in the course of the warfare.

“I can see that every part exhibits that this choice will likely be authorised by the member states, by the (European) Council within the spirit of solidarity,” Wojciechowski stated. ”We’re very near the ultimate settlement,” he added with out elaborating what points have been nonetheless left on the desk.

After the 27-nation bloc lifted Ukrainian farm import restrictions final yr to assist the nation ship its prized cereal manufacturing on to the world and overcome Russia’s Black Sea blockage, a number of japanese nations have been inundated with imports that flooded native markets.

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“We absolutely perceive that these 5 member states requested to introduce measures towards this oversupply of merchandise from Ukraine, as a result of it creates many issues for the farmers in these front-line international locations,” the commissioner stated.

To guard their farmers, they unilaterally imposed bans on Ukraine imports for his or her nationwide markets, a transfer that goes towards the precept that the EU units commerce coverage for all 27 nations, and offers an impression that the bloc is preventing internally as an alternative of dealing with Russia collectively.

Below the European Fee’s plan, the bloc would principally settle for the bans on the 5 important merchandise — wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil — that account for 90% of imports, however flip down their request to additionally embrace honey, sugar, poultry and another secondary merchandise.

Earlier than the assembly, the precarious state of affairs of farmers in japanese member states might already depend on some understanding amongst different member states.

“We want joint solidarity and our stand within the markets have to be a typical one,” French Farm Minister Marc Fesneau stated. Others anxious that the EU’s united stance by one yr of the Russian invasion would begin to collapse.

After final yr’s Russian blockade stored shipments from leaving Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, the EU lifted duties on Ukrainian grain to facilitate its transport to Africa and the Center East by different routes and supplied to pay some compensation to farmers in transit international locations, which they stated was inadequate.

Total, there was acceptance that native markets in nations near Ukraine have been skewed. In Poland, wheat imports went from 2,375 tons in 2021 to 500,008 tons final yr. Maize went from 5,863 tons to greater than 1.8 million over the identical interval.

Comparable large will increase have been additionally evident in Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

Final week, European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen wrote a letter to the leaders of the 5 nations with a set of proposals that she stated “responds particularly to the issues of front-line member states and stakeholders, together with farmers, and can enable us to react even faster sooner or later.”

The European Fee’s proposals additionally constructed on an preliminary help bundle of 56.3 million euros for essentially the most affected farmers within the front-line international locations with the potential for a second bundle of 100 million euros.

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Comply with AP’s protection of the warfare in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine



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