Slovakia: Ukraine’s WTO complaint against grain import ban is unfounded

Hungarian health authority checks a Ukrainian grain shipment. (MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Ukraine’s complaint lodged with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the three Central European countries that all banned grain imports from the country has no legal foundation, Slovak Agricultural Minister Jozef Bíres said on Tuesday.

As Remix News reported, Ukraine has launched legal action against Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over their unilateral bans on Ukrainian grain exports, which Ukraine considers to be a “violation of their international obligations.”

The Ukrainian lawsuit filed on Monday evening before the World Trade Organization (WTO) is meant to launch “consultations” with the three Eastern countries, read the statement from Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko.

“I was surprised. Of course, there is no legal basis for the complaint, and obviously there can be no argument for uncontrolled food imports into a member state,” said Jozef Bíres, quoted by the Czech news agency CTK. The Slovak minister told the Slovak public news agency TASR, “the embargo on Ukrainian grain imports will not be lifted.”

“Our position is that unilateral measures will be maintained until the Ukrainian (import) guarantee system is evaluated and it is proven that imports are under control,” Bíres said, referring to the export control system for grain exports based on export licenses presented by Ukraine on Monday. “This is a natural reaction to protect our own market from excessive imports from Ukraine,” Bíres said.

While the European Union said its decision not to uphold the ban was entirely justified, Hungarian Agricultural Minister István Nagy criticized it, saying that the leaders of the EU “consider the interests of an entirely outsider third country as more important.” He added that “the EU leaders have been elected by the member states, and they are accountable to them and should support (the member states).”

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