Ukraine and Poland are exploring the possibility of a compromise solution to allow the transit of grain through Poland, according to Taras Kachka, Ukraine’s deputy economy minister and trade representative. In an interview with the Polish news agency Onet, Kachka suggested that grain shipments could be carried out “manually” by coordinating each commercial batch of Ukrainian agricultural produce with the Polish authorities before crossing the border. This proposal would require Ukrainian exporters to submit a request to Ukraine’s Ministry of Economy, which would then contact their Polish counterparts to assess the batch in terms of price, size, and potential buyers.
The discussion of a compromise solution comes after Poland, along with Hungary and Slovakia, decided to extend their embargo on Ukrainian grain, despite the European Union (EU) lifting the restriction. Poland justified the move by stating that it was necessary to protect local farmers and prevent cheap Ukrainian agricultural produce from flooding the market and disrupting the sector.
Ukraine strongly condemned the ban, considering it “illegal,” and filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the three Eastern European countries. In response, Ukraine threatened to halt imports of fruit and vegetables from Poland.
In May, the European Commission (EC) imposed temporary preventive measures on imports of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seed to five member states, including Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. The measures were put in place to ease the impact of plummeting prices in these EU countries. The moratorium allowed Ukrainian produce to be transported through member states but not sold or warehoused there. However, this restriction expired on September 15, and the EC opted not to extend it, despite concerns over a potential influx of cheap agricultural produce from Ukraine.
The ongoing discussions between Ukraine and Poland indicate a possible resolution to the issue of grain transit. Both countries are recognizing the need for cooperation and are exploring a mechanism that would enable Ukrainian exports to pass through Poland while addressing the concerns of the Polish authorities. The proposed manual coordination process aims to strike a balance between facilitating trade and safeguarding the interests of local farmers in Poland.
It remains to be seen whether this compromise solution will be accepted by both sides and implemented effectively. However, the fact that discussions are taking place is a positive development, as it signals a willingness to find common ground and resolve the dispute amicably.
In the meantime, Ukraine’s dispute with the WTO against Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia will continue, and the possibility of halting imports of fruit and vegetables from Poland remains on the table. These measures serve as a reminder of the escalating tensions surrounding the issue of grain trade between Ukraine and its neighboring countries.
Overall, the situation highlights the challenges and complexities of international trade and the importance of finding mutually beneficial solutions that consider the interests of all parties involved. The ongoing discussions between Ukraine and Poland demonstrate a commitment to resolving the issue and fostering a positive trade relationship between the two countries.