Ukraine to sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over extension of grain import ban

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Kyiv will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over their refusal to lift the ban on Ukrainian agricultural products. This was announced by Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Representative of Ukraine, in an interview with Politico.

“It is important to prove that these actions are legally wrong. That’s why we will start lawsuits on Monday, September 18,” Kachka said, adding that Kyiv is also preparing to restrict imports of Polish fruits and vegetables.

Poland, Hungary and Slovakia opposed the European Commission, which on September 15 decided to lift restrictions on the export of certain categories of Ukrainian agricultural products.

The three countries said they would impose their own embargoes on grain from Ukraine. “In our eyes, these measures by Hungary and Poland are a statement of complete distrust of the European Commission,” Kachka said.

According to him, open disobedience on the part of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia is not only an internal EU matter. It has also raised concerns about whether international trading partners might believe that Brussels speaks for the entire EU.

Kyiv plans to sue the countries at the World Trade Organization. “I think that the whole world should see how EU member states behave towards their trading partners and their own Union, because it can affect other countries,” explained the Ukrainian trade representative.

While Slovakia extended the EU’s previous ban on four types of grain, Poland imposed additional bans on Ukrainian flour and feed, and Hungary banned 25 more products that were not previously mentioned, including meat.

“These arbitrary bans are ridiculous. I think that Hungary is making a political statement here that it wants to block trade with Ukraine and completely ignore Brussels. And so I think this is a very bold move against both of us by Budapest,” Kachka said.

As reported, on September 15, the European Commission refused to extend the temporary ban on imports of Ukrainian wheat, corn, sunflower seeds and rapeseed to five EU countries neighboring Ukraine.

At the same time, the European Commission said in a statement that Ukraine has agreed to introduce certain legal measures (e.g., an export licensing system) within 30 days to avoid sudden spikes in grain exports. Ukraine has to submit a corresponding action plan no later than September 18.

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