EU prepares for higher duties on Russian grain

Asociatyvi nuotr.

The European Commission wants to impose higher duties on imports of Russian cereals. The institution has prepared a proposal to this effect, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday evening after talks between EU leaders in Brussels. In addition to cereals, higher tariffs would be imposed on other agricultural products from Russia and Belarus.

In addition, according to Ms von der Leyen, efforts will be made to prevent grain stolen in Ukraine from being fed to the EU. Russian grain must not destabilise the EU market and Russia must not benefit from the export of Russian goods, the President noted.

Eurostat data shows that EU Member States have significantly increased their grain imports from Russia in recent years. In the run-up to the war, in 2020 and 2021, the EU imported almost €120 million (2020) and more than €290 million (2021) worth of cereals from Russia respectively. In 2022 ši the amount was €325 million and a year later – almost €440 million.

A number of EU šals at the ša meeting to ške the European Commission to prepare restrictions on imports of Russian grain. Russia is financing the war in Ukraine with the money it receives from grain exports to the EU, among other things, according to the letter signed by the agriculture ministers of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In addition, the Commission is to assess how to further restrict imports of Russian and Belarusian agricultural products.

The EU has been reluctant to restrict imports and exports of agricultural products. The Commission is now arguing that duties are not sanctions. It would also ensure that tariffs are applied only to imports that remain in the EU. It would not make Russian exports to the rest of the world more expensive.