Ukraine threatens to sue Poland and EU in the WTO over grain embargo

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The embargo on Ukrainian grain exports in five EU states neighboring Ukraine is set to expire on Sept. 15. Poland is lobbying the EU to extend the embargo, and Kyiv is working hard in Brussels to ensure the ban ends. Now, Ukraine is threatening to sue Poland and the EU itself in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the issue.

Ukrainian Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka warned that “despite being grateful to Poland for its help, if the limits on the export of our grain are introduced, we will be forced to take the matter to the WTO in the form of a lawsuit.”

However, grain may not be the only sticking point between Ukraine and Poland. Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus, who participated in Tuesday’s informal meeting of the EU’s agriculture ministers in Cordoba, Spain, told reporters that Poland is likely to want to add raspberries and honey to the list of products covered by the embargo on Ukrainian products.  

This will be possible if the EU agrees that the list of products to be embargoed should be flexible. However, neither Poland nor any other of the neighboring states has any intention of stopping the transit of Ukrainian products through their territories. In fact, they have called for the EU to assist in the financing of that transit to help make Ukrainian exports more economically viable elsewhere.

Speaking at the Three Seas summit in Bucharest, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the heads of state of the five neighboring EU states to “honor the freedom to export and remove barriers to Ukrainian exports when Ukraine is facing the consequences of Russian aggression.”

“We must build certainty and trust during a time of war during which Ukraine is fighting for its survival and for European values on the ground, in the air, on the seas and in cyberspace. The economy is part of that fight,” said Zelensky.

He confirmed Ukraine would not back down with regard to its exporting rights.

“If we have to, we will take our case into the domain of international organizations,” he warned. 

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