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Ukraine to file a complaint with the WTO against the ban on agricultural exports to EU countries

Ukraine may file a complaint against some EU countries with the World Trade Organization (WTO) if they don’t lift the restrictions on the exports of Ukrainian agricultural products after September 15.

This was reported by the CTS, which cited the interview of Taras Kachka, Ukraine's deputy economy minister and trade representative, with POLITICO.

Quote"With full respect and gratitude to Poland, in case of introduction of any bans after [September 15], Ukraine will bring the case against Poland and the EU to the World Trade Organization," he said.

Taras Kachka argued that the restrictions were in breach of the EU-Ukraine free-trade agreement.

Quote"We do not intend to retaliate immediately, given the spirit of friendship and solidarity between Ukraine and the EU," explained Kachka. But, he added, the systemic threat to Ukrainian interests would force Ukraine to bring this case to the WTO.

Furthermore, Kachka said in his comments, there was no evidence of price deviations or a significant increase in grain supplies that would justify extending the import restrictions. Kyiv had engaged in "constructive cooperation" with the Commission, the five member states, as well as Moldova, a key transit hub for Ukrainian exports to the EU.

Quote"We got a lot of support for ensuring better transit of the goods through the territory of neighboring member states, including Poland and Hungary. During [the] last two months, we significantly advanced cooperation with Romania on the transportation of goods from Ukraine," Kachka said.

Meanwhile, Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, said that Brussels was seeking a solution for Ukrainian agricultural exports that could suit all parties.

Quote"The position we are taking here is clear. We are seeking the solution that brings the best results for everyone involved. We have initiated this Solidarity Lanes initiative to provide Ukraine with [an] alternative to the Black Sea export route. In terms of capacity, we are gradually approaching the volumes that are needed for exports of Ukrainian agricultural goods. There are estimates for the next 12 months that the export volumes will constitute some 4.7 million tonnes per month," Dombrovskis said in Brussels on Wednesday.

According to him, the progress towards such volumes is good. A consensus solution is being sought that will help avoid possible litigations initiated by Ukraine in the World Trade Organization because the EU is committed to assisting Kyiv. But it is necessary to be sensitive to the concerns of the five countries bordering Ukraine and look for a solution acceptable to all, Dombrovskis added.

Earlier this year, five EU member states bordering Ukraine introduced a temporary ban on the exports of Ukrainian grain until mid-September because of the growing concerns of their local farmers about the impact on their businesses.

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