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Polish, Ukrainian agriculture ministers hold talks on grain ban, WTO lawsuit

21.09.2023 20:00
Poland’s agriculture minister has held a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart on Kyiv’s lawsuit against Poland at the World Trade Organisation and said he was pleased the two sides had resumed talks on the issue of Ukrainian grain.
Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus.
Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus.X/Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Robert Telus made the statement in an interview with Polish state news agency PAP on Thursday.

The Polish agriculture minister said he had spoken to his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Solskyi on the phone earlier in the day.

Telus added: “I said the lawsuit at the WTO harms our relations. They should drop it.”

He told the PAP news agency that Poland was “always ready to talk, with the caveat that the interests of Polish farmers are our priority.”

Poland’s agriculture minister added he was pleased that Ukraine had started to discuss the issue with the Polish government, "rather than with Germany or the European Commission," the PAP news agency reported. 

For his part, Ukraine’s Solskyi agreed to work out a solution to the grain dispute in the interests of both countries, the Reuters news agency reported.

No one in Ukraine wants to cause problems for Polish farmers: envoy

"There is no person in Ukraine who would be interested in creating any problems for Polish farmers," Ukraine's ambassador to Poland, Vasyl Zvarych, told the PAP news agency.

The envoy added he believed an accord on the grain issue could be reached, according to Reuters.

The next round of talks is scheduled for next week, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko announced at the start of this week that Kyiv had filed a lawsuit against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia at the World Trade Organisation over these countries’ bans on food imports from the country.

The three countries imposed national embargos on Ukrainian grain imports last week, after the EU’s executive Commission on September 15 decided not to prolong its ban on Ukrainian imports into those countries as well as Bulgaria and Romania, according to news outlets.

The five “near-frontline” EU states have said that cheap Ukrainian agricultural goods meant mainly to transit further west and to ports, get sold locally, harming their own farmers, Reuters reported.

On Thursday, in a further move to end the dispute, Ukraine agreed to license its grain exports to Slovakia, according to Reuters.  

The two countries will set up “a licensing system for trading in grains, which, once established, will allow a ban on imports of four Ukrainian commodities to Slovakia to be lifted,” the agriculture ministry in Bratislava said.

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

Thursday is day 575 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. 


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters