EU states agree 'prohibitive' tariffs on Russia grain imports

AFP , Thursday 30 May 2024

EU states agreed on Thursday to impose "prohibitive" duties on grain imports from Russia in a bid to restrict revenues to Moscow for its war on Ukraine.

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FILE - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. AP

 

The European Union has hit Russia with multiple rounds of sanctions to inflict damage on Russia's war chest following its all-out invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The latest measure will notably "tackle illegal Russian exports of stolen Ukraine grain into EU markets", the EU's trade commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, said on social media.

The tariffs will also be applied to products from Belarus, which served as a staging ground for Russia's attack on Ukraine.

But the tariffs will not apply to Russian grain transiting through the EU to countries outside the bloc, to ensure that food supplies elsewhere are not impacted.

The European Commission proposed the measure in March. Under World Trade Organization rules, virtually all Russian grain has until now been exempt from EU import duties.

From July 1, the EU will increase "duties on cereals, oilseeds and derived products from Russia and Belarus to a point that will in practice halt imports of these products", the council representing the EU's 27 member states said.

"These measures will therefore prevent the destabilisation of the EU's grain market (and) halt Russian exports of illegally appropriated grain produced in the territories of Ukraine," said Vincent Van Peteghem, Belgian minister for finance.

"This is yet another way in which the EU is showing steady support to Ukraine," he added.

Russia at the time warned against the move. "Consumers in Europe would definitely suffer," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in March.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had told EU leaders earlier this year that it was unfair Russian grain maintained access to their markets, while Ukrainian imports faced.

 

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