Poland will extend embargo on Ukrainian grain

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Poland said Friday it would extend an embargo on Ukrainian grain, going against a European Commission decision announced earlier in the day to end the import ban.

“A government order extending the embargo on Ukrainian grain will be issued and published today,” government spokesman Piotr Muller told state news agency PAP.

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“We do not agree with the European Commission’s decision and in the interest of Polish farmers and consumers, we are introducing national measures,” he added.

The conflict in Ukraine and the problems with Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea have resulted in the EU becoming a major transit route and export destination for Ukrainian grain.

In June, the EU agreed to restrict imports of grain from Ukraine to five member states seeking to protect their farmers who blamed those imports for the slump in prices on local markets.

The five member states were Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

All five had asked for the restrictions, which expired on Friday, to be extended.

The issue is particularly sensitive in Poland as the country is holding elections next month.

The current populist right-wing government of the Law and Justice party has strong support in farming regions.

“What is in the interest of Polish farmers is most important to us,” Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus said on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

Polish presidential advisor Marcin Przydacz slammed Brussels for ending the ban, saying the decision goes “against the interests of the EU economy”.

Poland is a major supplier of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and hosts some one million Ukrainian refugees.

The issue of grain imports has triggered a diplomatic spat between the two neighbors.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said Tuesday that Kyiv was considering legal action.

“We have no intention of harming Polish farmers... But in case of violation of trade law in the interest of political populism before the elections, Ukraine will be forced to turn to WTO arbitration to obtain compensation for violation of GATT norms,” he said on social media, referring to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

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