Poland and Ukraine struggle to thrash out deal on grain imports

rfi:  Talks were underway on Thursday in Warsaw between the governments of Poland and Ukraine as part of an attempt to defuse a row over grain imports that has caused mass protests by farmers throughout the European Union.

Farmers throughout the 27-nation bloc have been protesting to demand the re-imposition of customs duties on agricultural imports from Ukraine that were waived after Russia's invasion in 2022.

They say Ukraine's farmers are flooding Europe with cheap imports that leave them unable to compete.

"It is difficult to expect any breakthrough after these talks, any specific agreement, for example on agricultural issues," the head of the prime minister's office Jan Grabiec told state news agency PAP.

"We are still in dialogue and both sides are not fully satisfied."

Poland has been eyeing a licensing deal for agricultural trade with Ukraine similar to one agreed with Kyiv by Romania and Bulgaria.

On Wednesday, Poland's Agriculture Minister, Czeslaw Siekierski, said talks were continuing about a system of licensing exports.

However, he added, there were differences over the range of products that would be covered.

Ambassadors from EU countries reached a revised deal on Wednesday to extend tariff-free food imports from Ukraine until June 2025.

The onus for a new deal fell on Belgium, the current holder of the En Council's rotating presidency.

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