Hungary follows in Poland footsteps, bans Ukrainian agriproducts
European countries are opting to ban Ukraine's grain because member states can't unilaterally tax the product without a decision by the EU.
Hungary became the second European country to ban the imports of Ukrainian grain and other food commodities over fears of unfair competition damaging their domestic farming industry, Reuters reported o Sunday.
Budapest did not release further details on the starting date of the ban but highlighted that it expires at the end of June and said it hopes the EU reforms its tariff regulations regarding Ukraine and reconsiders the no import-tax policy.
This comes after Poland instructed on Saturday the relevant agencies to temporarily ban Ukrainian grain imports to protect domestic farmers and agricultural outputs.
The Polish Cabinet in a statement said that it has "authorized the minister of agriculture and the minister of development and technology to issue relevant legislation to protect the Polish agricultural market from destabilization, including a temporary ban on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine."
According to the Cabinet, the ministers remain in contact with Ukrainian authorities to inform them of the "difficult situation related to the destabilization of the agricultural market."
In January, a delegation from some of Ukraine's neighboring countries, such as Poland, Hungary, and Romania, stressed that the negative impact of Ukrainian duty-free products must be fixed, citing the negative "impact on their farmers” competitiveness.
The agreement between the EU and Ukraine, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), was struck in 2016 and allowed almost half of Ukraine's agricultural products to enter the union free of duty, however, the rest of the products were liberalized last year after the start of the war, knowing that the current one-year temporary trade liberalization scheme is up for review in June 2023.
Other European countries have also been raising complaints recently regarding the tariff-free Ukrainian agri-food products flooding the EU market, as domestic producers and farmers are facing disadvantages and struggling to compete.
Earlier this month, the European Commission is said to be studying a new package of assistance to mitigate the severe competition posed by duty-free Ukrainian products.
The first farmer assistance package was employed back in March, whereby $61.2 million worth of financial compensation was allocated for Polish, Bulgarian, and Romanian farmers. Additionally, comparable sums of financial compensation are expected to be dedicated by the national governments once EC approves it.
Slovakia also denied the import of Ukrainian grain earlier this week, claiming that levels of pesticides found in the food product do not comply with EU regulations.