EU Commission wants to extend trade liberalisation agreements for Ukraine
The European Commission wants to extend the measures concerning the liberalisation of agricultural trade between the EU and Ukraine. David Clarinval, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, the country holding the EU presidency, said that Member States will soon receive information about the initiative.
EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis added the Commission will present amendments to the current legislation to allow Ukraine’s neighbours to implement some restrictions. EU countries neighbouring Ukraine, including Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria have been voicing their concerns about this initiative, claiming it would have a massive negative impact on their farmers.
The liberalisation of trade between Ukraine and the EU was implemented in May and June 2022, when the European Parliament voted in favour of suspending EU duties on all Ukrainian exports. The policy was set to expire on 5 June 2023. However, in April of that year, Ukraine’s neighbours decided to implement bans on importing food products from Kyiv. Initially, the bans were supposed to be lifted by mid-September, but the countries involved kept it going. Ukraine threatened to sue the EU if the ban was not lifted.
The role of rail freight
Finding trading paths between Ukraine and the EU has been one of the main task of European institutions, and rail freight keeps playing a key role. In July 2022, for example, both DB Cargo and Rail Cargo Group launched initiatives to move Ukrainian grain by rail and bring it to Europe. The role of rail in this project became even more important after Polish truckers manifested their discontent by blocking the road border crossings with Ukraine.