The EP gave consent to extend the liberalization of trade in EU agricultural products with Ukraine and Moldova

Luc Williams

The European Parliament adopted it with 347 votes in favour, 117 against and 99 abstentions. amendment to the EC proposal regarding suspension of customs duties and quotas import on Ukrainian exports of agricultural products to the EU for the next year – from June 6, 2024 to June 5, 2025.

Import from Ukraine is still duty-free, but with special supervision

The decision gives the EC the power to take swift action and impose all necessary measures in case of significant incidents disruptions on the EU market or on the markets of one or more EU countries in connection with imports from Ukraine, including the introduction of an emergency brake in the case of particularly sensitive agricultural products. The original proposal was about poultry, eggs and sugar. PE added to this group cereals (wheat, barley, oats, corn) i honey.

MEPs also changed the reference date for calculation average import volumes. In the original proposal, it was 2022-2023, and the EP voted for the period 2021-2023.

In the next step they will start negotiations with the EU Council on the final shape of the decision.

Immediately after the start of Russia's war against Ukraine, the EU introduced autonomous trade measures (ATMs) in June 2022, which enable duty-free access to the EU all Ukrainian products. In 2023, these measures were extended for one year. In January, the EC proposed suspending import duties and export quotas from Ukraine and Moldova for another year.

The EU's helping hand for Moldova

In a separate vote on Wednesday, the EP agreed by 459 votes to 65 and 57 abstentions that all customs duties for imports from Moldova should be suspended for another year.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine also hit Moldova hard because it is heavily dependent on Ukrainian transit routes and infrastructure for its own exports. Trade liberalization measures have enabled Moldova to redirect part of its trade with the rest of the world through the EU. Most Moldovan exports already benefit from duty-free access to the EU market under the Association Agreement.

In the case of Moldova, the measures will now need to be formally approved by EU governments. The new regulation should enter into force immediately after the current regulation expires. The current suspension expires on June 5, 2024 for Ukraine and on July 24, 2024 for Moldova. On Ukraine, MEPs will start negotiations with the EU Council.

From Strasbourg Łukasz Osiński


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