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EU Imposing Tariffs on Russian Grain

Reuters’ reported Tuesday that “the EU is preparing to impose tariffs on grain imports from Russia and Belarus to placate farmers and some member states, officials familiar with the plans said on Tuesday. Traders said Russian and Belarusian shipments to the bloc were low, certainly relative to those from Ukraine, and that the imposition of tariffs was largely symbolic.”

Russian research company SovEcon said it would have little impact on grain trade and prices, given only 2% of Russian shipments went to Europe, with the exception of sunflower meal, of which the European Union took a third of Russian exports,” Reuters reported. “…Total EU imports of grain and oilseed in 2023/2024 from Russia stood at 1.8 million tons by the end of February, European Commission data showed. That compared with 19.1 million tons from Ukraine.”

The Financial Times’ Andy Bounds, Paola Tamma and Raphael Minder reported Tuesday that “according to people familiar with the plans, the European Commission is in coming days expected to impose a €95-per-tonne duty on cereals from Russia and Belarus. That would increase prices by at least 50 percent, the people said, eradicating demand. Tariffs of 50 percent would also be placed on oil seeds and derived products.”

Reuters reported that “the tariffs would apply to grains destined for use in the 27-member EU and would not apply to the transit of grains through the bloc to other countries, the sources said. The move comes as farmers across the EU call for changes to restrictions placed on them by its Green Deal plan to tackle climate change, and for the re-imposition of customs duties on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine that were waived after Russia’s invasion in 2022.”
France Calling for Restrictions on Ukraine Imports
Those farmer protests over Ukrainian imports are having an effect, according to Politico’s Bartosz Brzezinski and Camille Gijs, who reported Monday that “France has joined Poland in calling for further restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products, threatening to derail negotiations on extending Kyiv’s free-trade access to the EU for another year, three European diplomats told POLITICO.”
“France joined the minority camp, led by Poland, that is pushing for further restrictions on Ukrainian imports into the bloc, according to the three EU diplomats close to the talks,” Brzezinski and Gijs reported. “Those proposed restrictions would add various cereals and honey to the list of products subject to import caps and extend the reference period for calculating those caps by a year, so that they cover the period 2021-2023.”

“The change would cost Ukraine €1.2 billion in trade revenue, according to Commission estimates cited by two of the diplomats, who were granted anonymity to discuss the behind-closed-door talks,” Brzezinski and Gijs reported. “‘That’s a massive cut to a country that needs all the help it can get,’ said one of the diplomats.”

Ryan Hanrahan is the farm policy news editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism).

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