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Ukraine denies trade-off plan for agriculture in EU talks By Reuters

Ukraine denies trade-off plan for agriculture in EU talks

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A worker loads a truck with grain at a terminal during barley harvesting in Odesa region, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine June 23, 2022. REUTERS/Igor Tkachenko

By Pavel Polityuk

KYIV (Reuters) -Terms for the integration of Ukraine’s agricultural sector into the European Union will be determined during negotiations, two ministers said on Tuesday, denying Kyiv was considering seeking an easing of the EU’s Green Deal requirements.

Earlier on Tuesday, a senior official told Reuters that Ukraine could consider forgoing the EU’s agrarian subsidies in exchange for an easing of Green Deal requirements during accession talks starting next month.

“The terms of Ukraine’s agricultural sector’s accession to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be determined during the negotiation process,” Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna and Farm Minister Mykola Solsky said in separate statements.

“There can be no talk of any abandonment of subsidies and grants, as the rules should be the same for everyone,” they said.

Ukraine, which has a huge agrarian complex capable of feeding hundreds of millions of people, was invited to join the EU last year and will start sectoral talks on its accession in March to harmonise its legislation with EU requirements.

Integrating Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector, which before Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022 was the world’s fourth-largest supplier of grain, into the EU is likely to be highly sensitive, both politically and economically.

Kyiv could be eligible for 96.5 billion euros ($104 billion) in subsidies from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy over seven years, if current rules are applied to an expanded union.

“It seems to me that the ideal negotiating strategy (is to achieve) fewer restrictions on trade, fewer restrictions on the environment (for Ukrainian farmers) and we are willing to trade this for subsidies,” the official said.

The official requested anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. A European Commission spokesperson didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

AVOIDING RED TAPE

“We must protect our competitiveness, we must not make bureaucracy that would stop development especially in our conditions – for example, to get ten environmental certificates for some small thing.”

The agricultural sector is crucial for Ukraine’s battered wartime economy and pre-war, in value terms, grain accounted for half of all Ukrainian exports.

Ukraine already sells a…

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