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Ukraine hopes for positive resolving on grain ban by EU neighbours

Ukrainian officials expressed hope on Thursday that the standoff with neighbouring EU countries, which had imposed measures to restrict imports of Ukrainian agricultural products, could be resolved. However, this may happen only after this month’s elections in Poland, according to Reuters.

Last month Hungary, Poland and Slovakia imposed restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain after the executive European Commission decided not to extend the ban on imports to five EU countries neighbouring Ukraine.

The issue has provoked tensions between Ukraine and its European neighbours, particularly Poland, where the nationalist government, whose elections will be held on October 15, is otherwise supportive of Ukraine but argues that cheap Ukrainian grain could damage Polish agriculture.

Taras Kachka, Ukraine’s trade representative and deputy economy minister, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Brussels that his country understood the pressures faced by farmers in these countries. He claimed:

I think that in any case, we will find the solution because, after all, all the details of these puzzles are quite well known.

He added that a solution to the problem was not expected in the next few weeks, as Polish politicians were busy with elections.

Ukraine, a major global grain producer and exporter, usually relies heavily on its deep-water Black Sea ports. However, Ukraine’s ability to ship its goods to the rest of the world is limited due to Russia’s withdrawal from the UN-backed grain deal.

Previously, there was an agreement between Poland and neighbouring countries that prevented Ukrainian grain from being sold there, but at the same time allowed it to transit through these countries for sale in other countries.

Ukraine has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation against the three countries, but Kachka stressed that this meant the parties had entered a 60-day consultation period before any judicial commission was formed.

According to Kachka, no requests for grain export licences to Poland have been received from Ukraine, indicating limited demand for Ukrainian agricultural products from Poland and a normalisation of the pattern of trade flows, reflecting significant demand from other EU members.

Ukraine is seeking to accelerate exports of grain and other agricultural products under an agreement reached with Poland and Lithuania. Kachka said that Ukraine wanted to reach a comprehensive agreement with all its neighbours and the European Commission.

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