Almost all Ukrainian grain exports go via the Black Sea again

Under pressure from European demonstrators, the EU countries have decided to further reduce the expanded export rules for Ukraine. At the beginning of this week, the Agriculture Council had already decided on an 'emergency brake' and a lower maximum, but according to Poland, France, Hungary and Italy, this was still too broad. 

The EU ambassadors have now agreed on a new compromise that will allow even fewer Ukrainian goods to be imported duty-free into the EU. This is probably a disadvantage for Ukrainian agriculture. This includes eggs, poultry, sugar and corn. 

A majority in the European Parliament is also required to further tighten the requirements. This could be voted on in the last week of plenary sessions, on April 22, before Strasbourg goes on recess for the election campaign.

According to Ukraine, grain exports from Ukraine to EU countries have already returned to pre-2022 levels. For almost a year, Ukraine has not supplied wheat, sunflowers, corn and rapeseed via neighboring countries, and the vast majority of agricultural exports are being transferred again exported to the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian armed forces have succeeded in driving the Russian navy out of the western part of the Black Sea in recent months. Two large Russian ships were even torpedoed and sunk on the high seas. Russian naval vessels have also been attacked in ports in Russia-annexed Crimea.

During the Agriculture Council, Ukrainian Minister Mykola Solsky noted that since the beginning of the year, about 12 million tons of the 17 million tons of agricultural exports have been transported out of the country through the ports of Odessa, and almost 3 million tons on the Danube via neighboring Romania, and only 2 million tonnes by land, mainly by rail, via neighboring EU countries.

“We transport as much through Poland in a month as we export through our seaports in one day. In addition, the cost of sea exports is much cheaper and more competitive than land transportation,” Solsky added. He emphasized that Ukrainian agricultural products on the EU markets hardly have any negative impact.

Poland hopes that it will not be necessary to stop the transit of agricultural products from Ukraine. Polish Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Sekerski told journalists in Brussels. He did not say whether Poland will now end the Polish peasant blockades at Ukrainian border crossings.