The Honeymoon Season Between The EU And Ukraine Is Dead, As The European Union Decrees Limits On Ukrainian Imports

When the war in Ukraine first sparked back in the winter of 2022, there was this honeymoon season wherein Western countries were eager to help Ukraine, such as the EU establishing free trade for Ukrainian agricultural products. Now, after so many European farmers in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have expressed their rage at cheap Ukrainian goods lowering their prices, now the European Union wants to put a cap on Ukrainian imports, signaling the end of the honeymoon season. As we read in Euractiv:

The European Commission announced, on Monday (1 July), that the two commodities will no longer be exempted from duties and quotas as of Tuesday 2 July, since they exceeded the cap fixed in the regulation on trade benefits for Kyiv.

Since 2022 the EU has had autonomous trade measures (ATMs) in place, liberalising imports from Ukraine to help it in its war effort.

The influx of cheap Ukrainian products, particularly in the EU border countries (Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria) and subsequent demonstrations by farmers, led the EU to introduce ’emergency brakes’ on imports.

These emergency measures include the reintroduction of tariff quotas from the 2016 Free Trade Agreement with Ukraine. This will happen if imports of ‘sensitive’ products – eggs, poultry, sugar, oats, maize, groats and honey – exceed the average volume between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2023.

Oats was the first product to trigger the measure, on 18 June.

“Given that imports of eggs and sugar from Ukraine since the beginning of 2024, are already above the volumes set (…), additional imports will continue at most favoured nation (MFN) duty,” the Commission announced.

From 1 January 2025 until 5 June 2025, Ukraine will be able to export five-twelfths of the threshold set for triggering the emergency brake, corresponding to 109 438 tonnes of sugar, and 9 662 for eggs.