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MEPs approve trade support measures for Ukraine with protection for EU farmers

On Tuesday, Parliament endorsed the extension of temporary trade liberalization measures for Ukraine, while protecting EU farmers. With 428 votes in favor, 131 against and 44 abstentions, MEPs backed extending the suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian agricultural products for another year, until 5 June 2025, to support the country amidst Russia's continuing brutal war of aggression.

Under the new regulation, the Commission can take swift action and impose any measures it deems necessary should there be significant disruption to the EU market or the markets of one or more EU member states due to Ukrainian imports (e.g., wheat). As part of reinforced safeguard measures to protect EU farmers, the Commission can trigger an emergency brake for particularly sensitive agricultural products, namely poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, groats, maize, and honey. If imports of these products surpass the average of import volumes recorded in the second half of 2021, and all of 2022 and 2023, tariffs can be re-imposed. As part of the agreement on these new rules, the Commission pledged to launch talks with Ukraine on permanent trade liberalization soon, and keep the Parliament closely engaged in the process.

Sandra Kalniete (EPP, LV), rapporteur for the file said: "The extension of trade support measures reaffirms the EU's solidarity with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. This vote will simultaneously strengthen the economic resilience of Ukraine and protect the interests of European farmers. We will keep our promises – we will support Ukraine until its military victory and accession to the EU and NATO."

Next steps
Council will now have to formally approve the regulation. The current trade measures expire on 5 June 2024, and the new regulation should enter into force immediately following this date

The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, has ensured that Ukrainian businesses have preferential access to the EU market since 2016. After Russia launched its war of aggression, the EU put in place autonomous trade measures (ATMs) in June 2022, which allow duty-free access for all Ukrainian products to the EU. These measures were extended by one year in 2023, and in January, the EU Commission proposed to renew the suspension for another year with additional safeguards to protect the EU market. During negotiations, Council and Parliament added more measures to protect EU farmers. For Moldova, Parliament recently decided to extend similar measures for another year.

For more information:
Eszter Zalan
Tel.: +32 228 40081
Tel.: +32 477 99 20 73
Email: [email protected]

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