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EuropeMEPs agree to extend trade support for Moldova, continue work on Ukraine...

MEPs agree to extend trade support for Moldova, continue work on Ukraine | News

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Parliament voted with 347 votes in favour, 117 against and 99 abstentions to amend the Commission’s proposal to suspend import duties and quotas on Ukrainian agricultural exports to the EU for another year, from 6 June 2024 to 5 June 2025. MEPs referred the report back to the Committee on International Trade to start negotiations with the Council

The legislation gives the Commission the power to take swift action and impose any necessary measures should there be significant disruptions to the EU market, or to the markets of one or more EU countries due to Ukrainian imports, including an emergency brake for particularly sensitive agricultural products MEPs voted to amend the Commission’s proposal to include more sensitive products and a wider reference date for calculating average volumes.

The liberalising measures are conditional on Ukraine’s respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law, and its sustained efforts to fight corruption and organised crime.

Supporting Moldova

In a separate vote on Wednesday, Parliament agreed with 459 votes in favour, 65 against and 57 abstentions that all remaining duties on imports from Moldova should be suspended for another year.

Russia’s illegal military aggression against Ukraine has also hit the Republic of Moldova hard as it relies heavily on Ukrainian transit routes and infrastructure for its own exports. The trade liberalisation measures allowed Moldova to redirect some of its trade with the rest of the world via the EU. Most Moldovan exports already benefit from duty-free access to the EU market under the Association Agreement.

Next steps

On Moldova, the measures will now have to be formally approved by EU governments. The new regulation should enter into force immediately when the current regulation expires. The current suspension expires on 5 June 2024 for Ukraine and on 24 July 2024 for Moldova. On Ukraine, the MEPs will start negotiations with the Council.

Background

The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, has ensured that Ukrainian businesses have preferential access to the EU market since 2016. In the immediate aftermath of the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU put in place autonomous trade measures (ATMs) in June 2022, which allow duty-free access for all Ukrainian products to the EU. These measures were extended by one year in 2023. In January, the EU Commission proposed that import duties and quotas on Ukrainian and Moldovan exports should be suspended for another year. Russia has deliberately targeted Ukrainian food production and Black Sea exporting facilities to undermine the country’s economy and threaten global food security.

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