European Commission extends Ukraine grain import restrictions

Brussels, June 6 : The European Union has extended to September 15 restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain demanded by five member states who sought to protect their agriculture sector, the European Commission has said. The commission said in a statement on Monday that the bloc will phase out the exceptional and temporary preventive measures affecting Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, Xinhua news agency reported. "The phase-out will allow for significant improvements to be made to the Solidarity Lanes and to address challenges to get Ukrainian grain out of the country for this harvest," the commission said in the statement. This arrangement allowed the five EU member states to ban domestic sales of the above-mentioned Ukrainian supplies while allowing transit through the countries for exporting elsewhere, including to other EU countries. These restrictions had been adopted on May 2 due to "logistical bottlenecks" in the five member states, the commission said. The restrictions were due to expire on Monday but the five countries argued that cheaper Ukrainian grain was making their domestic production unprofitable, so they sought an extension. "These measures continue to be necessary for a limited period of time given the exceptional circumstances of serious logistical bottlenecks and limited grain storage capacity ahead of the harvest season experienced in five Member States," the commission said. In case transit of Ukrainian goods is impeded by unduly burdensome requirements in one or several of the five member states, the commission said it will reassess whether the substantive conditions for imposing these preventive measures remain. /IANS


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