Polish Government Opposes Extension of EU Trade Preferences for Ukraine

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Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski has written in a letter to the European commissioner for trade that he “fundamentally opposes” continuation of tax-free trade with Ukraine. The letter of the Polish minister was read by RMF FM radio station. Brussels is now working on a regulation that will continue liberalizing trade with Ukraine until June 2025. According to Siekierski, the full trade liberalization introduced by the EU after the outbreak of the war had “the opposite impact”. He emphasizes that the problems with excessive imports concern not only cereals, but also “sugar, poultry meat, eggs, mellow fruit (especially frozen raspberries) or apple concentrate”. The minister cites the example of sugar, the import of which from Ukraine has increased twenty times. In his opinion, negotiations should be started with Ukraine “on gradual mutual liberalization, which would be accompanied by incremental adaptation of Ukrainian agriculture to EU standards and legislation”. The minister spoke in favor of removing sugar, poultry meat and eggs from the EU free trade rules and establishing enhanced protective provisions. At the same time, Siekierski announced that Poland would return to negotiations within the EU Coordination Platform with the participation of Ukraine, the EU and Ukraine’s neighboring countries “in order to find efficient and acceptable mechanisms”. The Law and Justice government withdrew from this Platform in protest against the European Commission’s decision not to extend the EU embargo on Ukrainian grain. Siekierski also expressed his readiness to meet with European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis. Previously, Polish European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski warned against a new crisis that could trigger excessive agriculture-imports from Ukraine to the EU. Wojciechowski threatened not to support the regulation on the extension of preferences if his proposals were not taken into account. Let us remind you that on 25 May 2023, the EU Council adopted a regulation that extended the suspension of all customs duties, quotas and trade protection measures on Ukrainian exports to the EU for another year, until June 2024. These measures are designed to help Ukraine maintain stable trade relations with the EU and support the economy under very difficult circumstances. Accompanied by extensive military, financial and humanitarian support, it is crucial to help Ukraine’s long-term recovery.