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Taras Kachka: Ukraine aims to avoid legal process within the WTO framework, and to reach an understanding through negotiations

Ukraine will insist on the removal of national bans on Ukrainian agricultural products imposed by EU countries and is prepared to implement export controls targeting these countries. This statement was made by Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine and Trade Representative of Ukraine, during a live broadcast of the National Telethon.

"For us, the key point is to reach an understanding with Poland and the other four neighbouring countries on their imports of Ukrainian agricultural products. After all, on 15 September, the European Commission lifted the ban on Ukrainian exports, replacing it with a control mechanism. It is expected that a mechanism for joint verification and approval of supplies of four types of agricultural products to the five EU countries will be in place in the future. This is a very complex trade mechanism, so we do not expect a significant increase in Ukrainian exports. It is important for us because we want to show what the demand really is, who actually buys Ukrainian products, and gradually involve the governments of these EU countries in the assessment of these supplies. After all, it will become clear over time that the ban is not needed and we can gradually return to normal trade," says Taras Kachka.

According to him, two countries, namely Bulgaria and Romania, have responded positively to this proposal, and negotiations are currently in progress with them to establish bilateral communication mechanisms. However, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary have not yet lifted their national bans on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products.

"We are currently engaged in discussions with these countries and the European Commission in an effort to reach a compromise. I am hopeful that this week we will have positive developments, indicating that we have reached an agreement on a cooperative mechanism that is acceptable to all parties involved. This mechanism should help us avoid implementing formal bans in our bilateral trade relationships. Therefore, resorting to the WTO is not our primary approach to addressing this issue; it serves as our response to the imposition of national bans. Ideally, we would like to avoid a lengthy legal process within the World Trade Organisation framework. Our priority is to reach an understanding with our neighbours through negotiations," emphasised Taras Kachka.

As a reminder, on 15 September 2023, the European Commission announced that, thanks to the work of the Coordination Platform and to the temporary measures, the market distortions in the five Member States bordering Ukraine have disappeared. As a result, the European Commission decided not to extend its decision to ban the import of goods from Ukraine. At the same time, the European Commission noted that Ukraine is to put in place effective measures in order to prevent any market distortions in neighbouring Member States.

Meanwhile, on 15 September 2023, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary unilaterally imposed a national ban on imports of agricultural goods from Ukraine. Following this, Ukraine brought lawsuits against these countries to the WTO.

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