Ukraine's Complaints to WTO against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia Currently on Hold

Thursday, 5 October 2023

Ukraine has put its complaints against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on hold while it tries to find a compromise solution.

"This problem [imports of Ukrainian agricultural products – ed.] will be resolved in the coming weeks and months. There will be a lot of news about how the licensing regime is changing, etc. It will be very fast-paced work. Therefore our disputes at the WTO are currently on hold while we look for a practical solution," Interfax Ukraine cites Taras Kachka, Deputy Economy Minister and Trade Representative of Ukraine.

Kachka emphasised that Ukraine has not yet started the WTO dispute process itself.

"We are not in a dispute – we have not set up a working body to conduct the dispute, we are at the consultation stage. We have filed this case [to the WTO], and there are 60 days for consultations," the trade representative explained.

Kachka says that Ukraine is interested in finding a constructive solution within the framework of the EU as a whole.

"Although the complaints we filed are against specific member states, including Poland, this is a systemic issue of our relations with the EU. Our goal is to emphasise that the EU and Ukraine have the same approach to trade agreements. Therefore, we see how to solve this problem as a whole to show unity between us and Poland, between us and the EU, and between Poland and the EU," Kachka said.

He said the fact that there are no problems with neighbours with the direct transit of Ukrainian products was a "great joint achievement". "We have only one sensitive point left – the question of when neighbouring countries’ markets can be opened up for Ukrainian goods. This is a minor problem because we don't sell a lot of grain there. But this is essentially a question of the functioning of trade between Ukraine and the EU," the trade representative added.

With regard to the situation with Poland, Kachka said he hoped that the parties will be able to return to the discussions after the elections, as there are no systemic obstacles to solving the problem.

"As of now, there are no requests for export licences from Ukrainian companies to Poland – which is an additional indicator that there is no massive export pressure on Poland’s domestic market. We are using this time to show that in reality, the clear interest of Ukrainian exporters is simply to export to those EU member states where the demand for Ukrainian goods is genuinely high," the official said.

Following the end of temporary restrictions on the import of certain types of agricultural products at the EU level, Ukraine proposed an export control plan for four groups of crops – wheat, maize, sunflower and rapeseed – to the European Commission and Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania to protect their domestic markets.

Despite this, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian imports, prompting Ukraine to begin challenging their actions at the World Trade Organisation.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editors.