N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
The European Commission lifted restrictions on imports from Ukraine in June 2022 following Russia’s invasion of the country, which led to an influx of Ukrainian goods into the EU market. It pushed prices down especially in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania.
Since 16 September, the Commission has not extended the restrictions on Ukrainian imports implemented in May after the farming industries in these neighbouring countries expressed opposition.
While cereals and oilseeds account for most of the imports, Ukraine being one of the world’s largest grain exporters, the influx of other agricultural products is causing problems for EU farmers.
Ukrainian poultry meat exports to the EU have gone up by about 150% compared to the pre-war situation, and eggs by over 100%. The Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU (AVEC) warned that the EU’s competitiveness is declining and says the increase in imports from Ukraine is ‘worrying.’
Tensions are also rising over sugar, especially in France. It seems that factories have been closed. Ukraine’s sugar exports to the EU rose from 25.000 tonnes between October 2021 and July 2021 to 390.000 tonnes in the same period last year, according to EU data. The French sugar beet growers association (CGB) called for a clear answer from the European Commission.
But, ‘We do not see any very significant development on the EU agricultural market’, Pierre Bascou, Commission’s deputy director for agriculture, told MEPs. He plays down the worries of the EU agricultural sector.
Meanwhile the national bans on Ukrainian imports are still in place in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Ukrainian President Zelenski seems to be furious.