Romania will not ban Ukrainian grain imports

The country awaits EU decision
calendar icon 21 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Romania will not unilaterally ban the import of Ukrainian grain and will wait for the European Commission to enforce measures to help central and eastern European farmers, Reuters reported, citing Agriculture Minister Petre Daea on Friday.

However, Romania and Ukraine will consult weekly on expected grain volumes, seeking to limit imports, Daea said after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Solsky, in the capital, Bucharest.

Romania is the only one of five central and eastern European states that has stopped short of banning imports of Ukrainian grains, while tightening controls at border checkpoints.

"I think it is necessary we wait ... to see what the Commission decides, and then we will meet again to establish long-term rules, because Romania and Ukraine are large grain producing countries," Daea told reporters.

Solsky said it was obvious the current situation required "quick decisions".

"We understand these decisions must be comfortable for Romanian farmers and ... we wait for the European Commission," he said through a translator.

With access to its own Black Sea ports blocked and later limited by Russia's invasion, Ukraine has had to find alternative shipping routes for its farm products.

Millions of tons of grains and oilseeds, cheaper than those produced in the European Union and exempt from customs tax, ended up in neighbouring states, distorting demand and prices of local products.

The European Commission said on Wednesday it would take emergency "preventive measures" for wheat, maize, sunflower seeds and rapeseed, compensating local farmers and only allowing grain to enter the five countries from Ukraine if they were set for export to other EU members or the rest of the world.

This measure, contingent upon Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia withdrawing their unilateral import bans, would run until the end of June.

However, the five countries expect the Commission to widen the list of products to include milk, poultry and honey.

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