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8 months ago

Ukraine to sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over food import bans

Corn sits at a grain storage in a farm, in Timar, Hungary on April 19, 2023 — Reuters/Files
Corn sits at a grain storage in a farm, in Timar, Hungary on April 19, 2023 — Reuters/Files

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Ukraine plans to sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over bans on Ukrainian agricultural products, Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said on Monday.

"I think (it will be) in the near future," he told Reuters.

Politico had earlier on Monday quoted Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka as saying in an interview that Kyiv planned to sue the three countries.

Restrictions imposed by the European Union in May allowed Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, while permitting transit of such cargoes for export elsewhere.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports on Friday after the executive European Commission decided not to extend its ban on imports into Ukraine's five EU neighbours.

Warsaw, Bratislava and Budapest say they are acting in the interests of their economies and that their moves are intended to protect their farmers from a glut of products.

"It is important to prove that these actions are legally wrong. And that's why we will start legal proceedings tomorrow," Politico quoted Kachka as saying.

Kachka told Politico that Ukraine could also impose reciprocal measures on Poland if Warsaw did not drop its additional measures.

"We would be forced to retaliate on the additional products, and would prohibit the import of fruit and vegetables from Poland," Politico quoted him as saying.

Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus said Warsaw's ban covers four cereals, but it was also extended to include meals from these cereals: corn, wheat, rapeseed.

Kyiv had already said it could seek international arbitration over the restrictions.

The EU allowed its ban to expire on Friday after Ukraine said it would take measures to tighten control of exports to neighbouring countries.

Kachka said Kyiv was ready to "take on the responsibility to ensure that export from Ukraine is not creating any tsunami in neighbouring countries" and would impose a system of "real time" export licenses for grains.

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