The EU triggers emergency brake on oats imports from Ukraine

The cereal is the first agricultural product that will no longer be exempted from duties as of Wednesday (19 June), because it exceeds the cap fixed in the latest regulation on temporary trade benefits for Ukraine.

Oats is one of the sensitive products covered by the autonomous trade measures for Ukraine, aimed to help Kyiv’s economy, entered into force on 6 June.

After months of protests by farmers, especially in the countries bordering Ukraine, EU lawmakers began gruelling negotiations on the regulation.

The final agreement reflected the tensions in the European Parliament and the EU Council and included a clause for the automatic reintroduction of duties and tariffs if the imports of “sensitive products” – poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, maize, cereals, and honey – rise above the average of a reference period from the second half of 2021 to 2023.

“For oats, this average is 2.440,56 tonnes,” the European Commission said in a press release on Tuesday (18 June). Imports since the beginning of 2024 “are above this volume,” the bloc’s executive added, announcing the reintroduction of the tariff quota from the 2016 free trade agreement with Ukraine.

At the end of May, Ukrainian producers warned that also sugar was close to the limits, and called on Kyiv to close the border for the exports of sugar to the EU till the end of 2024.

According to the European Commission, Ukraine also exports oats to the EU but also to many third countries, mainly in Asia and North Africa.

From January to May 2024, Ukraine’s grain exports via Romania’s Black Sea port of Constanta, fell by 44% on the year to 3.5 million metric tons, the port authority told Reuters on Tuesday, with Kyiv increasingly relying on its own ports.

[Edited by Rajnish Singh]

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