Poland lifts ban on Ukrainian agri imports following EC's restrictions

Poland has lifted its ban on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine after the European Commission (EC) set restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agri produce to ease their excess supply in Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

The regulation to this effect, published in the Journal of Laws on Tuesday, came into effect on the same day.

Earlier on Tuesday, the European Commission had set restrictions until June 5 on imports of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed to ease the excess supply of these grains in the five countries.

The EC stated that, during that period, Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed could be sold to any other country of the 27-nation bloc, except to the five countries which had complained the cheaper Ukrainian grain was making domestic production unprofitable.

The EC's decision followed an agreement between Brussels and Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

The states had blocked the entry of Ukrainian grain because a glut of it had led to depressed prices on domestic markets.

"The EC regulations regarding imports of agricultural produce from Ukraine meet the expectations connected with the easing of tensions on our domestic market," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters in Vilnius later on Tuesday.

Morawiecki said that the EC's decision was the result of "very intensive negotiations with both the Ukrainian side and the EC."

Brussels had opposed the ban arguing that commercial trade policy decisions were the exclusive remit of the EU.

Under the agreement, the ban on imports for the domestic market remains in place but produce destined for other countries will be allowed in to transit the eastern countries.

The EC's measures also include a support package worth EUR 100 million for local farmers in the most affected five EU countries.

EC head Ursula von der Leyen said she was convinced the present agreement will "preserve both Ukraine's exports capacity so it continues feeding the world, and our farmers' livelihoods."