The European Union plans to approve new autonomous preferences for Ukraine before the end of June, ahead of the Ukraine-EU summit to be held in the middle of summer, Europeiska Pravda reports with reference to a source in the European Commission.
The main obstacle to the move remains the lack of a unified position within the EU Council.
”Last September, the expansion of trade quotas for Ukraine was approved by the European Commission. A few weeks ago, it was approved by the profile committee of the European Parliament. It is now necessary that the EU Council take a decision, after which we will move on to the trialogue,” the official said, Europeiska Pravda wrote, publishing the quote in Ukrainian.
He clarified that Malta, which chairs the EU in the first half of 2017, seeks to complete these discussions until the end of its mandate.
At the same time, the official acknowledges that the volumes of preferences can be substantially revised.
”The European Commission approved the volume of new quotas, but the European Parliament decided to reduce it by removing quotas for tomatoes and wheat. The position of the EU Council is decisive in this situation. It can lead both to the return of these positions to the list of preferences as well as to its additional cut,” he explained.
The official clarifies that many EU member states do not object to the adoption of the version of the list of preferences proposed by the European Commission. At the same time, a number of Eastern European countries favor further cuts to the list. However, he the source did not name these countries.
According to the publication, Hungary and Poland were the biggest opponents of preferences for Ukraine, considering them a threat to their agricultural producers. France also opposes the offered volumes, although its stance is not as firm as that of Hungary and Poland.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy says the key achievement of the proposed preferences is the increase by 650,000 in quotas for duty-free imports of corn. The source in the European Commission specifies that this position does not raise objections in the Council of the European Union.
However, the source disagrees with the estimates of the Ukrainian Ministry.
”Indeed, Ukraine may get the biggest quota for corn. But current EU customs tariff for this position is small – only EUR 5.35 per tonne, which means that Ukrainian exporters will benefit less from the smaller quotas for barley or wheat.”