European Commission proposes to cancel duties for goods from Ukraine in 2024, suggesting safety measures

Wednesday, 31 January 2024

The European Commission has officially proposed to extend the suspension of import quotas and duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU for another year, while including safety measures for agricultural products, as demanded by several EU countries.

For Ukraine, the European Commission proposes to extend preferential trade conditions with the suspension of import duties and quotas for another year, which should support the Ukrainian economy in times of war.

At the same time, the proposal includes an "enhanced safeguard" to protect the interests of European farmers. 

"To this end, and given the significant increase in imports of certain agricultural products from Ukraine to the EU in 2022-2023, the renewed autonomous trade measures contain an enhanced safeguard mechanism. This allows for a quick response in the event of significant distortions in the EU market or the market of one of the member states," the communiqué explains.

For three types of products – poultry, eggs and sugar – an "emergency braking" mechanism is envisaged to "stabilise imports at the level of average import volumes in 2022-2023". This means that if these import volumes are exceeded, import tariffs will be applied. 

In the same proposal, the European Commission proposes to extend the suspension of duties on imports from Moldova for another year. 

The proposal is to be further considered by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

The EU's preferential trade regime with Ukraine has been in place since 4 June 2022 and was extended in 2023. However, due to farmers' dissatisfaction, the EU imposed temporary restrictions on certain types of agricultural products for several months in 2023, and some countries, including Poland, extended them unilaterally after the EU had them cancelled.

The current extension of the duty-free and quota-free trade regime for Ukraine expires on 5 June 2024, and for Moldova on 24 July 2024. 

The European Commission notes that total imports from Ukraine to the EU increased to €24.3 billion from October 2022 to October 2023, compared to €24 billion in October 2021.

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