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Poland's plan to close the border with Ukraine: which country will suffer more

Roman KostyuchenkoNews
Which country will suffer more from the complete closure of the border between Poland and Ukraine
Which country will suffer more from the complete closure of the border between Poland and Ukraine

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's plan to completely close the border between Poland and Ukraine is unfavorable primarily to the former, as it is not just about agricultural products. And the overall trade balance shows that it is more profitable for Poland to trade with Ukraine than vice versa. In addition, it is not just the border between the two countries, but the border between Ukraine and the entire EU. And stopping this trade is unacceptable and unacceptable.

Denys Marchuk, deputy chairman of the All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council, told OBOZ.UA. In connection with all this, he noted, closing the border is impossible.

"Firstly, in the context of possible imports of Polish products in Ukraine, it is not only agricultural products, and the trade balance shows that they trade more with Ukraine than Ukraine in Poland. Secondly, we have to understand that this is not a Ukraine-Poland border, it is a Ukraine-European Union border. Such actions will have a corresponding response from the European Union. Because we have to understand that trade between Ukraine and the European Union as a whole will stop," he explained.

There will be consequences for everyone

At the same time, Marchuk emphasized that the consequences of a possible border closure will be felt by everyone. Export-oriented businesses will suffer both in Ukraine and Poland.

"The consequences are financial losses, additional detours. Additional detours mean logistics costs. Accordingly, the cost of imported and exported goods increases, and both parties bear the losses. Because their business is still at a standstill and they can't travel today," the expert explained.

Ukraine will not experience critical problems

At the same time, he noted that even if the border is completely closed, it will not be a critical blow to Ukraine. After all, only 5% of its grain is transported by land, while:

  • 80% - by the Black Sea;
  • 10% - by river ports on the Danube.

"To dispel the myths of the Poles that they stop the products of Ukrainian holdings at the border, the holdings export them by sea. Small and medium-sized businesses can send 3-4 trucks," Marchuk explained.

In addition, he noted, there is a possibility of bypassing Poland through Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Although this will entail additional costs, it is a way out.

Why did Tusk talk about closing the border?

In general, the expert noted, Polish Prime Minister Tusk's statement is most likely intended for the Poles themselves. Especially in light of the statement about the preparation to add sections of highways and railways leading to checkpoints on the border with Ukraine to the list of critical infrastructure facilities.

"That is, to ensure that military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine can move without obstacles. Therefore, in this context, there was no need to talk about stopping the traffic. I think [the statement about closing the border] is more focused on the domestic consumer," the expert summarized.

What Tusk said

Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that the Polish authorities were ready to completely close the border with Ukraine. However, they are ready to take such a step with the consent of the Ukrainian side and only for a while. The blockade will apply only to freight transportation and will not affect passenger transport.

"I am ready to make difficult decisions... We will find a solution that will protect our market and our farmers from this unequal competition... Tomorrow at this meeting we will look for a solution to the problem. We are talking to the Ukrainian side about the complete closure of the border with Ukraine and the complete closure of trade. I will also talk about this with Polish farmers. But this would be a temporary solution because it also hits Poland," Tusk said.

He added that the Polish side is ready for a "serious conversation" on the limits for Ukrainian agricultural products. "The limits proposed by Brussels and Kyiv are unacceptable to us," Tusk said.

According to him, the price of the decision on free trade with Ukraine is "too high from the point of view of Polish interests." "We have a very serious problem. We are the most pro-Ukrainian state when it comes to our willingness to help, but we also have the biggest problems in Europe related to the Russian-Ukrainian war. We are not in a position to pay this price, so we are looking for a solution that will protect the Polish market, as well as the European market, from being flooded with obviously cheaper agricultural products from Ukraine," Tusk said.

Poland receives much more from Ukraine than it gives

Earlier, Danylo Hetmantsev (Servant of the People), chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy, noted that by blocking the border, the Poles are "shooting themselves in the foot" - in 2023, Poland exported $12.3 billion worth of goods to Ukraine and imported $6.6 billion from Ukraine.

"According to the Polish State Statistics Service, in 2023, Ukraine accounted for 3.2% of all merchandise exports from Poland. According to this indicator, we were in 7th place among our trading partners, overtaking the United States and such EU members as Spain, Slovakia, and Hungary. At the same time, the dynamics of growth of Polish exports to Ukraine in 2023 was the highest among the top ten countries that are the largest trading partners," the MP emphasized.

Moreover, he noted, the actual balance of trade with Poland for Ukraine is much more negative than official statistics show – "due to underestimation of imports." While Ukraine, "according to their statistics, is a bigger partner for Poland as an importing country."

"In the case of blocking automobile customs crossings, this is a real shot in the foot. Because our bilateral trade in general is already more profitable for Poland, especially given the current asymmetric restrictions on our agricultural exports (where we have already agreed to compromises)," the MP stated.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, Poles who support the farmers blocking the border with Ukraine are massively destroying Kujawski sunflower oil by pouring it down the toilet, filming it, and posting it online. They are doing this because the company that produces this oil, which has recently risen in price, is on the list of 500 companies that are supposed to import grain from Ukraine. As the protesters on the border themselves say, this is why Poles are getting poorer.

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