EU Agrees to Extend Trade Benefits to Ukraine as Farmers Protest

(Bloomberg) — The European Union got closer to extending trade support for Ukraine for another year, while creating stronger safeguards to prevent imports of certain products getting too high.

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Representatives of EU governments and the bloc’s parliament reached a provisional agreement early Wednesday to renew the suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports to the EU until June 2025, according to a statement. The trade measures have been intended to support Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion, as the farm sector is a vital part of its economy and some ports remain blocked by the war.

Still, the EU increased protection for sensitive agricultural products such as sugar, corn, eggs and poultry — allowing tariffs to kick in if inflows exceed the average of the past two years.

Crop imports from Ukraine have been at the core of farmer protests that have swept Europe in recent months, alongside rising costs and administrative burdens. Last month, growers asked the European parliament to limit the free trade measures, saying they endanger the bloc’s economies and disrupt the single market.

Polish farmers have been among the most vocal and earlier this week started blocking a key highway near the German border.

The proposal must be approved by the European Parliament and member states before coming into force.

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