Business news from Ukraine

Hungarian government to impose additional restrictions on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine

The Hungarian government will impose additional restrictions on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine to protect Hungarian farmers, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing a statement by Agriculture Minister István Nagy.

“The European Union’s decision to allow duty-free imports of goods from Ukraine in 2022 to help its economy stay afloat has led to a large oversupply and low prices on the European agricultural market,” Nagy said at a press conference.

Speaking about the planned new measures against Ukrainian products, the minister explained that the restrictions will now also include processed grain products.

He pointed out that officials in Brussels, in Budapest’s view, ultimately failed to protect European farmers who are unable to compete with cheap Ukrainian goods, and noted that this is why Hungary will introduce additional restrictions at the national level.

Last year, Hungary imposed a ban on the import of 24 Ukrainian agricultural products. The ban applies to grain, flour, vegetable oil, some meat products and other goods. Transit was not affected by this measure.

In March, an agreement on the temporary suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian products entered into force in the EU, the agency said.

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Lithuania, Czech Republic, Latvia and Estonia propose to Brussels to ban imports of ferrous metal scrap, copper and aluminum from Russia

Four EU countries – Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Estonia – propose to Brussels to ban the import of waste and scrap ferrous metals, copper and aluminum from Russia.

Such a proposal was presented at a meeting of the European Union Environment Council held on March 25, the Lithuanian Environment Ministry said.

“Lithuania proposes that the European Commission assess all possibilities at EU level and make a proposal to suspend waste imports from Russia to the EU or allow Member States to adopt unilateral restrictive measures. We believe that such imports contribute to financing Russia’s war against Ukraine and should be stopped,” Lithuania’s deputy permanent representative to the EU, Ambassador Jurga Kasputene, said at the council meeting.

According to the Environment Ministry, more than 118 million euros worth of waste and scrap ferrous metals, copper and aluminum were imported from Russia to the EU in 2022-2023. Most of these imports go through Lithuania.

According to the ministry, cross-border transportation of waste is regulated by the Basel Convention and the Waste Transportation Regulation, so individual member states cannot unilaterally ban or restrict such imports.

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EU countries have not yet been able to agree on the upper limit of duty-free imports of Ukrainian grain

The EU countries have not yet been able to agree on the upper limit of duty-free imports of Ukrainian grain, as well as the need to extend restrictions to other products from Ukraine, the German edition of n-tv reported. “In the debate on the upper limit of duty-free imports of Ukrainian grain, the 27 EU countries continue to disagree,” the publication said.

The German media cite information from European diplomats who say that there is also no clear majority among member states on the European Parliament’s proposal to extend the restrictions on poultry meat, eggs and sugar from Ukraine proposed by the European Commission in January.

Polish Radio’s correspondent in Brussels, Beata Plomecka, also confirmed that the European Parliament, influenced by farmers’ protests across Europe, last week backed an amendment to the regulation on Autonomous Trade Measures submitted by Polish MEP Andrzej Galicki.

MEPs agreed to impose import restrictions on sensitive goods, notably honey, a range of cereals, poultry meat, chicken eggs and sugar.

Poland is also lobbying to tighten import quota requirements for Ukrainian sensitive agri-commodities by using data on Ukrainian imports not only for the years 2022-2023, but also 2021, before Russia’s full-scale invasion, when there were no massive shipments of agricultural products from Ukraine.

“However, this support is absent among member states. Only Poland and the ‘frontline’ countries are demanding that the demands of the European Parliament be taken into account. At best, most countries want to reduce from three weeks to two the Commission’s mandate to impose a ban on EU imports of products whose imports destabilize the market situation,” Polish Radio stressed.” Negotiations on a possible restriction of imports of Ukrainian agricultural products in the European Council are scheduled for Tuesday evening.

As reported, in many EU countries since January 2024 there have been mass protests of farmers, who express dissatisfaction with the “green” course of the European Commission and the rise in the price of material and technical resources. One of their demands is to strengthen control over alleged unfair competition from Ukraine. Farmers claim that Ukrainian products that were once destined for Africa or the Middle East now remain in Europe, undermining the position of local producers. They also point out that Ukrainian producers are not subject to the EU’s higher environmental and social standards.

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India continues to increase purchase of gold

India imported $6.15 billion worth of gold in February 2023, according to the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

This is 2.3 times more than in February last year, 3.2 times more than in January this year and in general about twice the traditional average monthly levels.

That said, India Bullion and Jewellers Association president Prithviraj Kothari predicts that imports may not be significant in March due to record high gold prices. “Consumers cannot digest the current price level. If prices remain this high, it will affect demand in the current wedding season,” he told Reuters. – It makes no sense for banks and refiners to import.”

In January-February, India’s gold imports totaled $8.06 billion, 2.4 times the result of the corresponding period last year.

By the end of 2023, India imported almost 744 tons of gold worth $42.58 billion. In physical terms, the volume increased by 4%, in value terms – by 16%.

India is one of the largest consumers of gold in the world, practically not producing it itself.
Earlier, the analytical center Experts Club presented an overview of world economies over the past decades. More video analysis is available here – https://youtu.be/w5fF_GYyrIc?si=vsiB0zGYh0NI2tu0

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Ukraine cuts coke imports by 8.5%

In 2023, Ukraine reduced imports of coke and semi-coke in physical terms by 8.5% compared to 2022, to 328.697 thousand tons.

According to statistics released by the State Customs Service (SCS), coke imports in monetary terms decreased by 25.8% to $129.472 million during this period.

In 2023, Ukraine exported 3,383 thousand tons of coke, down 12.3% from 2022. In monetary terms, it decreased by 22.2% to $787 thousand.

Exports were carried out to Moldova (100% of supplies in monetary terms), while imports were mainly from Poland (88.47%), Colombia (7.72%) and the Czech Republic (3.15%).

As reported, in 2022, Ukraine reduced exports of coke and semi-coke in physical terms by 98% compared to the previous year – to 3,856 thousand tons, and in monetary terms by 97.6% – to $1,011 million. The main exports were made to Hungary (42.63% of supplies in monetary terms), Georgia (37.69%) and Turkey (17.41%).

In 2022, Ukraine imported 359.192 thousand tons of coke and semi-coke, which is 54.5% less than in 2021. In monetary terms, imports decreased by 50.3% to $174.499 million. Imports were carried out mainly from the Russian Federation (43.43% of supplies in monetary terms, before the war), Poland (30.07%) and the Czech Republic (13.15%).

As a result of the war, a number of mines and coke plants are located in the territories temporarily not controlled by Ukraine.

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Ministry of Agriculture of Poland: Poland ready to impose unilateral ban on grain imports from Ukraine after September 15

If necessary, Poland will impose a unilateral ban on imports of Ukrainian grain after September 15, while the transit of goods will be maintained, Agriculture Minister Robert Telusz told Polsat News at a press conference on Tuesday.

He denied media reports that a split in the coalition of countries banning Ukrainian grain imports had occurred and that the number of EU member states opposing Poland’s position on extending restrictive measures after September 15 had increased from 13 to 20.

“This is the first time I’ve heard that more countries are against it. I have talked to many ministers from the European Union about this. I see an understanding that we need to build a coalition. We have to build a mechanism. I am convinced that Romania is a member of the coalition,” Telusz was quoted as saying by the Polish publication farmer.pl.

He also said that next week he will hold talks with representatives of Slovakia to determine together “in which direction we will move.”

“At the moment, I have no doubt that there is a coalition,” Telusz assured.

The Polish minister emphasized that keeping the ban on the import of Ukrainian grain only until September 15 is “a political argument to further destabilize the situation in Poland.”

“We will not allow this,” he assured.

The Polish government wants this issue to be resolved “amicably in the European Union, so that there is no need to break down the door.”

“If it is necessary (…) to introduce unilateral bans, we will introduce them, because we are concerned about the interests of farmers (…), and there is no discussion on this topic,” Telusz stated.

Answering a question about possible risks of penalties being imposed on Poland if it violates the rules of the single market, the Minister said that “I don’t want to hear how we, the Poles, are being scared by fines (…)” and added that Poland “will pursue a tough policy in the interests of the Poles.”

Telusz said that Poland is in dialogue with Ukraine, Lithuania, and Latvia to transit grain through Poland.

“We are in dialogue with Ukraine, as well as with Lithuania and Latvia, to use their ports,” he said, and assured that the grain that leaves Poland does not return.

“If we are talking about the food security of Poland, the food security of Europe, then the grain must flow to Europe and must flow outside of Europe. We will help you on the way,” the head of the Polish Ministry of Agriculture said.

According to him, before the ban on the import of Ukrainian grain, about 114 thousand tons of grain entered Poland in transit, and in June – 260 thousand tons. At the same time, about 6 million tons of grain “left” Poland. Poland has about 3-4 million tons of grain left, “but this is a reserve that should always be there,” as the monthly demand for it is 2.5 million tons, the Polish Minister of Agriculture explained.

On June 5, the European Commission agreed to extend until September 15 the restrictions on exports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower from Ukraine to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. “The restrictions do not imply a ban on the transit of these goods through Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia,” reads the document signed by EC President Ursula von der Leyen.

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