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Ukraine considers extension of EU grain import curbs ‘inappropriate’

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KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s agricultural ministry considers it “inappropriate” to extend restrictions on Ukrainian food imports to some European states until September 15, the ministry said on Wednesday.

The European Commission said on Monday it was extending an arrangement whereby five of Ukraine’s EU neighbours can restrict imports of Ukrainian grain and oilseeds.

The EU on May 2 allowed the five countries – Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds while allowing transit through them for export elsewhere, including to other EU countries.

“The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine considers it inappropriate to extend the European Commission’s decision to restrict imports of Ukrainian agricultural products until 15 September 2023,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it hopes it will not be extended afterwards.

The EU liberalised all imports from Ukraine for an initial 12 months from June 2022 to help Kyiv’s efforts to fend off Russia’s invasion. Last month it agreed to extend the tariff suspension for a further year.

But the five countries saw a huge rise in imports from Ukraine following the suspension of tariffs.

Ukraine has experienced difficulties exporting through its Black Sea ports because of the war with Russia, increasing its reliance on routes through the eastern EU.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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