The war in Ukraine blocked Black Sea shipping lanes and the EU became an important transit route


The European Union said on Friday it would lift a ban on imports of Ukrainian grain in five member states after Kiev vowed to control exports.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine closed pre-war Black Sea shipping routes, resulting in the EU becoming a major transit route and export destination for Ukrainian grain.

But in May the EU began restricting grain imports to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to protect their farmers, who blamed the imports for falling prices in local markets.

The European Commission said “existing measures will expire today” when they expire at midnight.

“Market distortions in the five member states bordering Ukraine have disappeared,” the EU executive said.

The commission said the decision was taken after Kiev agreed to introduce measures such as an export licensing system within 30 days to “avoid grain surges”.

Meanwhile, it said Ukraine would take measures to control exports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds to avoid disruption in the markets of its EU neighbors.

The move is likely to please Ukraine, which pressured the EU to lift the measures amid a diplomatic row with Poland.

But it could anger Warsaw after Polish authorities said they would unilaterally extend restrictions even if EU measures expire.

The measures allowed products to continue to be transported across the five countries, but prevented them from being sold on the local market.

The issue is particularly sensitive in Poland, where elections are taking place next month.

The current right-wing populist government of the Law and Justice Party enjoys strong support in the agricultural regions.

Russia’s curbs on grain exports from agricultural powerhouse Ukraine have raised global concerns about grain supplies.

Moscow canceled a United Nations agreement authorizing exports across the Black Sea in July and has since stepped up attacks on Ukrainian export facilities.

The EU has strengthened other routes overland and along rivers that have exported over 44 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine since the invasion.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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