Poland mulls stricter agricultural export restrictions “if Ukraine escalates conflict”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki responded to the speech of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the UN General Assembly and announced a possible extension of the ban on food exports if Kyiv continues to "escalate the conflict"
Gazeta.pl reported the information.
"I warn the Ukrainian authorities: if they escalate the conflict, we will add more products to the ban on exports to Poland," he said.
The prime minister also reminded that Poland was the first country in Europe to open its borders to refugees from Ukraine and help deliver weapons and humanitarian supplies to the war-torn areas.
"After all this, we cannot hear any ambiguous - and some believe unambiguous - statements that reduce us to the role of an 'indifferent state,'" Morawiecki said.
He also said that Poland is ready to continue to help Ukraine, but not at the cost of "destabilizing the Polish market." For this reason, the government decided to impose an embargo on Ukrainian grain, although the European Commission did not agree to it. The prime minister emphasized that the embargo would remain in place until cooperation mechanisms are developed.
Some details regarding ban on Ukraine grain imports
On February 2, Polish farmers began blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine. They were outraged that the uncontrolled inflow of Ukrainian grain to Poland had caused prices for their products to plummet. Local farmers argue that Ukrainian grain should have been transported through Poland only to ports, but it ended up on the Polish market.
On February 16 and 17, Polish farmers resumed protests on the border with Ukraine.
On March 29, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki said that Poland promised to introduce rules that would limit the inflow of Ukrainian grain to the country, explaining that it could destabilize the import market.
On April 7, Ukraine agreed to stop exporting grain to Poland, and on April 15, the country approved a ban on the import of Ukrainian grain and other food products to Poland.
Later, оn April 15, Poland approved a ban on the import of Ukrainian grain and other food products to Poland. The government emphasized that this decision does not change the country's position on support and friendship with Ukraine.
The next day, a spokesman for the European Commission said that unilateral actions by EU member states on trade were unacceptable.
On April 18, it became known that Poland would receive EUR 30 million in aid from the EU amid the crisis with Ukrainian grain.
After that, Warsaw decided to unblock the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products to European ports on April 21.
On April 29, the European Commission agreed with Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia on the transit of food produced in Ukraine through their territory.
On May 12, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary called on the European Commission to extend the embargo on agricultural products from Ukraine until the end of the year.
In late May, it was reported that four EU countries would insist on extending grain import restrictions from Ukraine until October. At the same time, Hungary wants to extend the restrictions until 2024.
On August 4, Poland presented the EU with estimates of the investments needed to increase agricultural exports from Ukraine across the Polish-Ukrainian border to world markets.
On August 24, it was revealed that Hungary requested an extension of the EU's ban on Ukrainian grain imports.
Following this, Poland's Minister of Agriculture, Robert Telus, stated that Poland would also urge the European Union to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain imports. If the EU refuses, Poland would consider implementing its own restrictions. He noted that Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary had similar intentions.
In response, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its disapproval of the plans by Slovakia, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Hungary to prolong the ban on Ukrainian grain imports until the end of 2023, deeming the actions of these five EU countries as unacceptable.
On Friday, September 15, the European Commission decided not to extend the ban on Ukrainian grain exports to the EU: Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia announced that they would extend the embargo unilaterally.
On the same day, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal noted that the EU's decision would not only help Ukrainian exports and the economy in the face of the blockade of Black Sea ports, but would also contribute to global food security. He called on individual EU member states to refrain from unlawful unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural products.
Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Representative, said that negotiations on agriculture had turned into aggression on the part of Poland and hints of influence during Ukraine's accession to the EU.