Lithuanian representative to discuss with EU counterparts customs duties on Russian and Belarusian cereals

Asociatyvi nuotr.

Deputy Foreign Minister Simonas Šatūnas and his European Union (EU) counterparts are expected to approve maximum import duties on Russian and Belarusian grain in Brussels on Thursday.

The Community's Foreign Affairs Council on trade will decide on Thursday on a proposal by the European Commission (EC) in March to impose increased import tariffs on cereals, oilseeds and their products, including wheat, maize, sunflower meal, peas and chickpeas. 

Most of these products imported from Russia are now exempted from any EU import duties. 

The proposal for maximum duties was endorsed last week by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU Member States (COREPER), while Lithuania, together with six other Member States, invited the Commission to prepare a new proposal to increase the duties on other Russian and Belarusian products. 

If the EU Council approves the maximum import duties, they would come into force from 1 July

European Union (EU) Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in March that this would effectively stop them entering the Community market.

Lithuania, together with Latvia, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic, called on the Commission in March to examine the possibility of restricting imports of food products originating in Russia and Belarus.  

The Trade Council will also discuss EU trade policy and the Community's competitiveness, strengthening EU-Africa trade ties, reducing Africa's trade dependence on China and Russia, and the outcome of the 13th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in February.