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If No Objections, Black Sea Grain Initiative Automatically Extended, Mixed Signals on Extension Emerge

Reuters writer Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber reported yesterday that, “Russia on Monday suggested renewing a deal allowing the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports but only for half the term of the previous renewal while the United Nations pledged to do everything possible to ensure the agreement’s integrity remained intact.”

“The deal, extended for 120 days in November, is up for renewal on Saturday. But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said after talks with U.N. officials in Geneva that Moscow was ready to extend the deal for only 60 days, citing restrictions on Russia agricultural exporters,” the article said.

“Ukraine Rebuffs Russia’s Offer of a 60-Day Extension on Grain Deal,” by Aine Quinn, Megan Durisin and Aliaksandr Kudrytski. Bloomberg News (March 13, 2023).

However, Bloomberg writers Aine Quinn, Megan Durisin and Aliaksandr Kudrytski reported yesterday that, “Ukraine pushed back on Russia’s apparent offer to extend the landmark grain-export deal by just 60 days when it comes up for renewal later this week.

“Russian and United Nations officials held discussions in Geneva on Monday as crop traders watch for news about whether the pact will remain in place. While Russia said it was open to the limited extension, Ukrainian infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Twitter that the proposal contradicted the terms of the overarching agreement, which allows for renewals of at least 120 days.”

The Bloomberg writers explained that, “The Black Sea Grain Initiative’s terms say it will remain in effect for 120 days from signing and can be automatically extended for the same period, unless one of the parties notifies their intent to terminate or amend it.”

Meanwhile, Reuters writer Lidia Kelly reported today that, “A deal allowing the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports will be extended automatically after it expires on March 18 if there are no objections from the involved parties, Russia’s TASS state news agency reported on Tuesday.

Citing an unnamed source familiar with the details of the negotiations around the agreement, TASS reported that so far none of the involved sides had indicated a withdrawal.

The Reuters article pointed out that, “‘If the deal is extended for 60 days, it will continue to operate after March 18, and after 60 days one of the parties may raise the issue of its termination,’ the source added.

“The prices of corn and wheat have been under pressure on hopes of a deal renewal.”

Also today, Reuters writer Emma Farge reported that, “Informal dialogue between the United Nations and parties to the Black Sea grains deal continue over an extension, a U.N. spokesperson said on Tuesday, adding that the in-person talks with Russia have already ended.

“‘The talks completed yesterday as agreed, but consultations continue with all parties,’ a spokesperson for the humanitarian office of the United Nations led by Martin Griffiths said in an emailed response to Reuters questions.”

However, a separate Reuters News article today reported that, “A Russian official said a landmark deal allowing Ukraine to export grain through its Black Sea ports has been extended for 60 days, though Kyiv said it would stick to a 120-day extension and Turkey said talks were ongoing.”

The article noted that, “‘Indeed, the deal has been extended – it has been agreed that it has been extended for 60 days,’ the TASS news agency cited Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying on Tuesday.

“RIA news agency also quoted Grushko as saying the deal had been extended. According to RIA, Grushko cited another deputy foreign minister, Sergei Vershinin, confirming the extension.

“United Nations officials gave no immediate comment on the extension.”

Bloomberg writers Aine Quinn and Megan Durisin reported today that, “Wheat fluctuated as Russia and Ukraine gave conflicting signals on whether a key grain-export deal had been extended.”

“Wheat Whipsaws Amid Conflicting Signals on Grain Deal Extension,” by Aine Quinn and Megan Durisin. Bloomberg News (March 14, 2023).

“A UN spokesperson did not immediately confirm whether or not there has been an extension of the deal, while Turkey called on the participants to renew the agreement,” the Bloomberg article said.

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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