Ukraine is Suing Poland, Hungary and Slovakia
Ukraine has taken Poland, Hungary and Slovakia to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over their ban on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products. Ukraine’s three neighbouring countries announced their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports on Friday.
It is “critically important” for Kyiv to establish that individual EU member states cannot ban the import of Ukrainian goods, said Ukrainian Trade Minister Yulia Svyrydenko. However, her government hopes “that these countries will lift their restrictions and we will not have to spend a long time resolving the matter in court,” Svyrydenko added.
Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka had previously told Politico that Ukraine could also impose measures against Poland if Warsaw did not abandon its course. “We would be forced to take retaliatory measures for the additional products and would ban the import of fruits and vegetables from Poland.”
Poland’s government appeared unimpressed by the lawsuit. “We are sticking to our position,” government spokesman Piotr Müller told the Polsat News television station. This is “fair” and in accordance with EU law and international law.
In May, the EU imposed an embargo that allowed Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds. However, the transport of these products through these states remained permitted.
The EU allowed that ban to expire on Friday after Ukraine said it would take measures to tighten export controls to neighbouring countries.
The EU ban was intended to protect agriculture in the countries from competition and thus prevent prices from falling. Since Ukraine has only been able to export grain to the Middle East and Africa to a limited extent since the Russian attack, the EU market has become increasingly interesting for the country, which generates around half of its economic income from grain exports. Exports across the Black Sea are currently completely blocked by Russia, so Ukraine has to find other export routes.