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Poland stands by embargo on Ukrainian grain despite Kyiv’s WTO lawsuit: gov’t spokesman

19.09.2023 07:30
Poland stands by its decision to ban the import of grain from Ukraine despite Kyiv’s lawsuit against Poland at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Polish government spokesman has said.
The Polish government spokesman Piotr Mller.
The Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller.PAP/Marcin Obara

Piotr Müller made the statement in a television interview on Monday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The spokesman for the Polish government told private broadcaster Polsat News: “Poland maintains its position.”

Müller added that “Ukraine’s lawsuit with the WTO won’t make us cancel the embargo.”

'Poland maintains its position'

He said: “Poland maintains its position. In our view it’s correct, based on an economic analysis and on the rights enshrined in European Union and international law.”

The government spokesman added that “Poland continues to support Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression,” but must also protect “the interests of Polish farmers” and so “the embargo will remain in place.” 

Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko announced that Kyiv had filed a lawsuit against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia at the WTO  over the ban on food imports from the country, according to news outlets.

“It is crucially important for us to prove that individual [EU] member states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian goods,” Svyrydenko said in a statement. “That is why we are filing lawsuits against them.” 

She added Ukraine hoped the three countries “will lift their restrictions and we will not have to settle the matter in courts for a long time.”

On Friday night, the Polish government placed an embargo on the import of several agricultural products from Ukraine, including wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower.

Slovakia and Hungary have since introduced similar bans, according to reports.

These developments came after the EU’s executive Commission earlier on Friday announced  that it would not prolong the bloc's ban on the import of wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflower and sunflower oil from Ukraine to Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

Brussels said it was letting the restrictive measures expire because “the market distortions in the five member states bordering Ukraine have disappeared" since the embargo was imposed on May 2, the PAP news agency reported.

'The embargo is justified'

Poland has banned the import of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower, as well as related products, including rapeseed meal, until further notice, news outlets reported.

Meanwhile, the transit of these products through Poland to other countries, or to Poland’s seaports, remains allowed, according to officials. 

The Polish government said that “given the current market situation, the embargo is justified and is designed to help maintain Poland’s food security and public security.”

An influx of Ukrainian grain would “cause another crash on the Polish grain market,” and so the ban will “help prevent strikes and social unrest,” officials added.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Tuesday is day 573 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP, me.gov.ua, The Hill