EU agrees 'additional safeguards' to protect Ukraine's neighbours from impact of tariff-free imports

Mon 22 Jan 2024
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Ukraine/russia flags over financial graph

The EU will limit Ukrainian food exports that depress the value of agricultural products in eastern European nations such as Poland and Hungary.

The two countries unilaterally banned Ukrainian imports in April 2023, following protests from farmers about their markets being flooded with cheaper Ukrainian goods.

The FT reports that the European Commission (EC) will now offer “additional safeguards” to neighbours of Ukraine when it extends tariff- and quota-free trade with the country.


The trade commissioner to the EC, Valdis Dombrovskis, told the FT:

“We will be looking at how we can provide additional assurances to Poland and other member states and one way of doing this is introducing country-specific safeguards.

“We see that this regional impact of trade or exports of Ukrainian agricultural products is very unevenly distributed. It’s primarily felt by immediate neighbouring countries whereas [it] doesn’t create much disruption for the EU market as a whole.”

Polish win

The EC concession has been described as a “win” for the new Polish government by Politico’s Brussels Playbook today.

The proposal must be approved by both the European Parliament and a majority of EU member states.

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk is visiting Ukraine today to show the country’s continued support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, Business Recorder reports.

Deal extension

The EU originally suspended import duties and quotas for Ukrainian goods in June 2022 via the Autonomous Trade Measures (ATM) Regulation, with a one-year extension coming into effect in June 2023.

In January 2024, however, EC agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski was reported by Politico to be concerned about the impact of cheap Ukrainian imports on his native Poland’s agricultural sector.

Concerns led Polish farmers to implement a blockade on Ukrainian goods entering Poland, though this was suspended after Tusk reached an agreement with them over financial support for the sector.