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EU country lifts embargo on Ukrainian grain: what they will buy and on what terms

Kseniya KapustynskaNews
Bulgaria is the first EU country to make grain concessions
Bulgaria is the first EU country to make grain concessions

Bulgaria has lifted its ban on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine. Licensed deliveries of sunflower, rapeseed, corn, and wheat, which had been banned until the end of November due to protests by local farmers, are now allowed. Actual exports of Ukrainian food to Bulgaria, however, have not yet begun.

This was officially announced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Bulgaria. "The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has kept its promise to limit imports of these agricultural products as much as possible until November 30," said the head of the ministry, Kyrylo Vatev, after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Solskyi.

Now, according to Vatev, Ukraine and Bulgaria "will strictly monitor that there are no market distortions and that the interests of Bulgarian producers, processors and consumers are not undermined." As a reminder, the licensing system stipulates that Ukraine will regulate the export of agricultural products to "problematic" EU countries. To this end, the Ukrainian authorities will  agree with the European Commission on the lists and volumes of products first and only then issue export permits to domestic agricultural producers.

The Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine confirmed that Bulgaria has allowed imports of Ukrainian agricultural products since December 1. However, according toInterfax-Ukraine, the ministry emphasized that the terms and conditions are still being finalized and that actual exports have not yet resumed.

As a reminder, on September 15, the European Commission announced that it would not extend the restrictions on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine to five neighboring EU countries (Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia). Initially, the restrictions were introduced on May 2, 2023, and applied to imports of wheat, rapeseed, sunflower, and corn. The five countries claimed that Ukrainian products, when imported duty-free to the EU, were settling in their countries and harming the local agricultural sector.

After the restrictions were lifted, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia introduced unilateral bans. Poland expanded its list of banned products to include rapeseed cake and meal, as well as corn bran, wheat flour, and derivatives. Hungary expanded the list to 24 items. Ukraine is negotiating the export licensing mechanism with all countries.

As OBOZ.UA reported, in November it also became known that Ukraine would expand trade through the Black Sea corridor. This will be facilitated by a new war risk insurance mechanism for sea carriers approved by the Ukrainian government. This applies to both exports and imports.

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