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European lawmakers reach deal with Commission to extend tariff-free accord for Ukrainian farmers to June 2025

Photo by Polina Rytova / Unsplash

European Parliament negotiators reached a provisional agreement with the European Commission to allow Ukrainian food producers tariff-free access to the European Union markets for another year.

The lawmakers agreed to a Commission proposal to extend Ukraine's tariff-free status to June 2025 but managed to add oats, maize, groats and honey to a list of goods with special conditions, parliament said in a press release on Wednesday.

The goods will join poultry, eggs and sugar on the so-called "emergency brake" list, which means that tariffs will be re-applied if imports of those items exceed the average levels of 2022 and 2023.

Agriculture is a key segment of the Ukrainian economy and represents a potential major destination for foreign investment when the war ends and reconstruction of the country starts in earnest.

Parliament negotiators also gained the Commission's commitment to act within 14 days if imports of those goods exceed the stipulated levels, instead of within 21 days as was suggested in the proposal the Commission sent to parliament in January.

Both parliament and the Commission now need to give a final greenlight to the proposal, parliament said in the statement.

“Tonight's agreement reinforces the EU’s continued commitment to stand by Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression until Ukraine’s victory," said Sandra Kalniete, the member of parliament handling the legislation. "Russia's targeting of Ukraine and its food production also impacts EU farmers. The Parliament heard their concerns, and bolstered safeguard measures that would alleviate the pressure on EU farmers should they be overwhelmed by a sudden surge in Ukrainian imports."

The current tariff-free agreement, set to expire on June 4 2024, has drawn protest from farmers in other EU nations particularly in Poland and other countries neighboring Ukraine.

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