K. Navickas calls for import duties on more Russian products

Kęstutis Navickas. Gedimino Stanišausko nuotr.

Minister of Agriculture Kęstutis Navickas is calling on the European Commission (EC) to impose a higher tax on a larger share of agricultural products imported from Russia and Belarus to the European Union (EU) than proposed.

At the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels, K. Navickas asked for an "urgent" extension of the range of imported products that would be subject to increased duties. The list will be expanded, the ministry (MAFF) said on Monday.

„We invite you to continue working on extending the list as far as possible to include other agricultural and food products, in line with the political will of the European Council. We hope that the Commission will present a legislative proposal without delay," Navickas said in a statement.

In order to limit the volume of agricultural imports into the EU from Russia and Belarus, the EC proposed at the end of March to impose maximum import tariffs on cereals, oilseeds and their products, including wheat, maize and sunflower meal. The Commission's proposal was taken up in early April by the EU Council's Customs Union Working Party in Brussels, made up of representatives of the Community countries.

The Foreign Ministry told BNS that the Permanent Representatives Committee of EU member states last week endorsed the proposal for higher customs duties.

After approval by the EU's Foreign Affairs Council on 30 May, the regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will enter into force on 1 July. 

K. Navickas welcomed the EU's agreement on the increase in customs duties and said he hoped that the final increase would be finalized soon, thus helping to further limit the aggressor country's ability to finance its war machine.

K. Navickas has said that EU tariffs on Russian grain would essentially amount to a ban on imports.