EU makes fresh effort to ensure Ukrainian goods “keep moving”

By Martin Banks

The suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian exports to the European Union will be extended for another year, it has been announced.

The EU said the move shows  it is “delivering once again on its commitment to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

These so-called Autonomous Trade Measures (ATMs) have been in place since June 2022 and are a key pillar of the EU’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

They are seen as providing a lifeline to the country’s economy through access to the EU market.

The measures are also mindful of EU stakeholders’ concerns, says the EU Commission.

To this end, the renewed ATMs contain a reinforced safeguard mechanism.

It allows for quick remedial action to be taken in case of significant disruptions to the EU market or the markets of one or more Member States.

In addition, an emergency brake applies to eggs, poultry, sugar, oats, maize, groats, and honey, which will be automatically triggered if import volumes reach the average yearly imports recorded between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2023.

the Commission is also taking the “necessary steps” to agree on longer term reciprocal tariff liberalisation.

This process aims to provide economic certainty and a stable framework for trade to both Ukraine and the EU, as well as to farmers and businesses.

This would, says the EC, also represent an important step forward for Ukraine’s reconstruction and further integration into the EU internal market, with the ultimate goal of securing the country’s future accession to the Union.

The new ATMs will enter into force on 6 June, after the current regime expires on 5 June 2024. They will be in effect until 5 June 2025.

In force since 4 June 2022, the EC says the ATMs have had a positive effect on Ukraine’s trade to the EU.

The measures help alleviate the difficult situation faced by Ukrainian producers and exporters as a consequence of Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression.”

They have, it is claimed, ensured that trade flows from Ukraine to the EU have remained remarkably stable in 2022 and 2023 despite the major disruptions caused by the war and against the general trend of a decrease of Ukraine’s trade overall.

EU imports from Ukraine amounted to €22.8 billion in 2023 compared to pre-war levels of €24 billion in 2021.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, said, “In the face of the devastation caused by Russia’s war of unprovoked aggression, these renewed ATMs are a vital support to the Ukrainian economy.

“They will ensure that we keep Ukrainian goods moving, while also taking the concerns of the EU agri-food sector into account.

“Thanks to the earnings generated from Ukrainian exports to and via the EU, Ukraine will have more financial means to win this war and will be in a stronger position to recover from it.”

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