The International Trade Committee has granted a fast-track approval for the proposed plan to temporarily suspend all EU import duties on Ukrainian fruit and vegetables. The scheme will be implemented to help boost the Ukrainian economy following the significant disruption of exports amid the ongoing geopolitical conflict with Russia. The draft report by the European Commission is expected to be fast-tracked for a vote by all members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on the 19th of May.
The war hampered Ukraine’s export trade, with many fresh fruit and vegetable exports forced to be halted. This is largely due to closures at Ukraine's largest Black Sea commercial port, preventing shipments from leaving the country, restricting export potential, and thus, damaging economic growth. The removal of tariffs is expected to improve Ukraine’s ability to trade goods and agricultural products within the European market and, consequently, relieve pressure on Ukrainian growers who have been impacted by the events of the war.
Nevertheless, this does not remove the ongoing financial pressures faced by all growers surrounding rises in input costs, largely energy and fertiliser, two key components for the production of many fruits and vegetables. Although the scheme could improve trade prospects in Europe, growers are expected to encounter significant financial challenges in the upcoming season.