POLAND/ HUNGARY: Poland and Hungary have decided to prohibit imports of grain and other foods from neighbouring Ukraine to protect their local agriculture sector, as stated by their governments on Saturday after a glut of food supplies pushed down prices throughout the area.
Ukraine expressed regret over the Polish action, stating that “resolving various issues by unilateral, drastic actions will not accelerate a positive resolution of the situation.”
After Russia’s invasion shut down some Black Sea ports, large amounts of Ukrainian grain, which is less expensive than grain produced in the European Union, ended up lingering in Central European states as a result of logistical bottlenecks, harming pricing and sales for surrounding farmers.
The prime ministers of five eastern European nations wrote a letter to the European Commission last month in which they described the scale of the increase in goods like grains, eggs, poultry, oilseeds, and sugar as “unprecedented” and suggested that tariffs on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products should possibly be taken into consideration.
Poland’s Law and Justice Party (PiS), which is now in power, is experiencing political challenges as a result of the oversupply and the stagflation-riddled economy.
At a party convention, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski stated, “Today, the government has decided on a regulation that prohibits the entry and importation of grain into Poland, as well as dozens of other types of food (from Ukraine).”
The government regulation will include a list of these products, which range from “grains to honey products”—”very, very many things,” he added.
The Polish ban, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food, is at odds with pre-existing bilateral export agreements, and discussions to resolve the matter are requested.
“We understand that Polish farmers are in a difficult situation, but we emphasise that Ukrainian farmers are in the most difficult situation right now,” it stated in a statement.
On late Saturday, nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration joined the prohibition, stating that the status quo would seriously harm local farmers.
Hungary said its ban on the import of grains and other foods would go into force at the end of June but did not provide any specific date.
Kaczynski of Poland stated: “We are and remain unchanged friends and allies of Ukraine. We will support her and we support her. … But it is the duty of every state, every authority, a good authority in any case, to protect the interests of its citizens.”
Kaczynski stated that Poland was prepared to begin negotiations with Ukraine to resolve the grain issue.
Hungary’s government stated that it hoped for modifications in regulations at the EU level, including a reconsideration of the removal of import taxes on Ukrainian agricultural products.