The European Commission has proposed extending the suspension of customs duties on agricultural goods from Ukraine and Moldova for another year, announced Deputy President of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas, in a statement to reporters.
Originally, customs duties were lifted in 2022, as an effort to provide support to Kiev following the Russian military operation, especially since Ukraine had been largely cut off from its traditional shipping route through the Black Sea.
The current tariff exemption expires on June 5 for Ukraine and July 24 for Moldova, with the renewal extending until June 2025.
This move comes despite protests from farmers in several European Union countries regarding the influx of cheaper Ukrainian products into local markets.
In May 2023, five EU member states from Eastern Europe – Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia – took a step to unilaterally ban imports of Ukrainian grains.
The European Commission acknowledges the negative impact of tariff suspension on several EU member states. To address these concerns, the Commission's recent proposal includes "swift remedial actions... in case of significant market disturbances in the European Union."
The press release further states that for the most sensitive products - poultry, eggs, and sugar - emergency brakes are expected to be introduced to stabilize imports at the average level of imports in 2022 and 2023.
This measure allows for the re-imposition of customs duties if imports of the mentioned goods exceed previous years' volumes.
Separately, Brussels has proposed another one-year, albeit partial, exemption from rules obligating farmers to leave a portion of their land fallow.
These measures are part of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy, aimed at enhancing biodiversity.
The latest proposals will now be reviewed by the European Parliament and member states with the aim of adopting the measures by June, coinciding with the expiration of the current tariff suspension.