Ukraine announced on Monday that it was filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization against Poland, Slovakia and Hungary after the three countries broke with the rest of the European Union to ban grain imports Ukrainians.
The countries introduced their bans over the weekend, saying they were necessary to protect their own farmers, who were complaining that cheap grain from Ukraine – one of the world’s biggest exporters – had flooded inadvertently their own markets, driving down prices. Hoping to quell the unrest, the European Union had temporarily banned imports of Ukrainian agricultural products to some countries, including three countries that later imposed their own bans within hours of the expiration of the ban. ban by the European Union.
Ukrainian officials protested the new bans, saying they threatened solidarity within the bloc and imposed further losses on Ukraine’s suffering exporters.
“It is of crucial importance for us to prove that some member states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian products,” Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said in a statement on Monday. She added that Ukraine needed “solidarity with them and protection of farmers’ interests.”
Although Svyrydenko’s statement said Ukraine had already filed its complaint, a spokesperson for the World Trade Organization said he was not aware of any filings on the issue received Monday.
Ukraine’s grain exports stopped immediately after the Russian invasion, but some exports resumed last year via the Black Sea under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. Russia withdrew from the deal in July, once again underscoring the importance of land export routes for Ukraine.
Despite Ukraine’s overtures to the WTO, Poland intends to maintain the ban and believes it is justified to defend the interests of Polish farmers, Polish government spokesperson Piotr said on Monday Muller, to the official Polish press agency PAP.
Other Ukrainian allies in the bloc have denounced the bans. German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir criticized what he called “part-time solidarity” with Ukraine.
French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau said in a post onformerly known as Twitter, that unilateral measures “threaten our collective efforts to preserve global food security.”
Natalia Novosolova and Steven Moity contributed to the translation.