Polish Government Opposes Extension of EU Trade Preferences for Ukraine

Wednesday, 10 January 2024

In a letter to the European Commissioner for Trade, Polish Agriculture Minister Czesław Siekierski has expressed his "fundamental resistance" to the extension of duty-free trade with Ukraine.

As reported by RMF FM, Brussels is currently drawing up a regulation that will extend trade liberalisation with Ukraine until June 2025.

Siekierski noted that the full trade liberalisation introduced by the EU after the war started had "the opposite effect".

The official claimed that the issues with excessive imports concern not only grains but also "sugar, poultry, eggs, soft fruit (especially frozen raspberries) or apple concentrate".

The minister cites sugar as an example, with its imports from Ukraine increasing twentyfold. In his view, negotiations with Ukraine "on gradual mutual liberalisation, accompanied by the gradual adaptation of Ukrainian agriculture to EU standards and legislation" should be launched.

The minister called for the exemption of sugar, poultry and eggs from EU free trade rules and the establishment of enhanced safeguard provisions.

At the same time, Siekierski announced Poland's rejoining the negotiations within the framework of the EU Coordination Platform with the participation of Ukraine, the EU and Ukraine's neighbours "in order to find effective and acceptable mechanisms".

The Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice) government withdrew from the Platform in protest at the European Commission's decision not to extend the EU embargo on Ukrainian grain. Siekierski also indicated his willingness to meet with European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

Earlier, Janusz Wojciechowski, the Polish European Commissioner for Agriculture, warned of a new crisis that could be triggered by excessive agricultural 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.

On 25 May 2023, the EU Council adopted a regulation extending the suspension of all customs duties, quotas and trade defence measures on Ukrainian exports to the EU for another year until June 2024.

These measures are aimed at helping Ukraine to maintain the stability of its trade relations with the EU and to support the economy in a challenging environment.

Combined with extensive military, financial and humanitarian support, this is crucial to helping Ukraine with its long-term recovery.

Read more: Poland must recognise it's waging war' against Ukraine’s European future

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