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Friday, September 29, 2023

Ukraine files import ban lawsuits against Poland, Hungary, Slovakia in WTO


 Kiev has filed lawsuits with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia because of their ban on the import of Ukrainian products, the Ukrainian Economy Ministry said on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Poland’s PAP agency reported, citing a source in the European Union, that Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have decided to boycott the coordination platform on Ukrainian grain in Brussels due to Kiev’s threats to appeal to the WTO over measures against imports.

“Ukraine has filed lawsuits with the WTO against Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, which banned the import of Ukrainian agricultural products,” the ministry said on Telegram, adding that it expects the countries to lift their restrictions in the nearest future.

Later in the day, speaking after a session of the European Council on agriculture and fisheries, Polish Agricultural Minister Robert Telus said that Ukraine’s accession to the European Union would be approved only if it meets certain conditions, including in agriculture.

“We, as Europe, as the European Union, must create mechanisms to ensure that Ukrainian agriculture does not endanger European agriculture,” he said.

The minister also said that Poland does not think that grain export control mechanisms proposed by the EU would be effective.

“We are unhappy and unsure about this decision. [The EU] must be in control [of grain exports]. The European Union rejects control and hands it over to Ukraine,” Telus said.

The minister added that Germany is the only country to openly support the extension of the ban on the export of Ukrainian grain to the EU, while other countries, “even if they had any concerns, said that we had to create mechanisms for the future.”

On September 15, the European Commission announced it would lift a ban on duty-free Ukrainian grain imports to five neighboring countries of the European Union, as well as a demand that Kiev introduce export controls. Following the decision, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia announced the unilateral extension of the ban.

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