Rising Trade Tensions: European Farmers Rally Against Ukrainian Imports

February 20, 2024

2 mins read

Over the past few weeks, farmers across Europe have initiated protests, using their tractors to block streets and disrupt ports and borders. Farmers have expressed frustration with what they perceive as, stringent trade regulations and bureaucracy enforced by the European Union, along with sharp increases in fertiliser and energy costs stemming from the conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, they lament the excessive influx of imported grain and oilseed products from Ukraine, a non-EU nation, saturating local markets. They argue that these imports drive down grain and oilseed prices, creating unfair competition for local producers.

Mintec has learned that protests in Poland against Ukrainian imports intensified on the 20th February. Sources familiar with the situation informed Mintec that Polish farmers have blocked nearly all border crossings between Poland and Ukraine, as well as a significant portion of roads leading to ports and transhipment stations, effectively halting trade. This escalation follows reports of Polish farmers blocking the Krakovets-Korczowa checkpoint on the Ukrainian-Polish border. Market players have informed Mintec that over 1,500 trucks are awaiting clearance at the border. Furthermore, Mintec has received reports indicating that similar blockades are occurring in Hungary and Romania. According to market sources, farmers in these countries continue to prevent Ukrainian imports, citing adverse impacts on their internal markets due to "cheap" Ukrainian imports.

Previously, market players had downplayed the disruptions, but sources now express growing alarm at the duration of the protests and the involvement of multiple farmers' unions in the demonstrations. One trader remarked, "The situation appears to be escalating as farmers feel authorities are not addressing their concerns.. They struggle to compete with imported goods from Ukraine, leading them to lower prices. This poses significant challenges, particularly with unpredictable crop margins due to weather-related losses and soaring fertiliser prices."

In response to rising tensions Ukrainian officials, notably Deputy Economy Minister and Trade Representative Taras Kachka, emphasised the need for constructive dialogue between Ukraine and Poland. Kachka stressed the importance of mutual understanding and cooperation to address the concerns of Polish farmers, criticising attempts to discredit Ukrainian agricultural products, rather than seeking collaborative solutions.

Kachka urged both sides to listen closely to each other and move beyond competitive dynamics. He highlighted the necessity of finding common ground before considering the Ukrainian-Polish border conducive to agricultural trade, citing challenges such as attacks on Ukrainian trucks and unpredictable border crossings.

The situation surrounding farmer protests and trade tensions between Ukraine and Poland remains fluid and evolving. As market players and officials continue to closely monitor developments, Mintec remains dedicated to providing regular updates on this intricate issue.

Kyle Holland
Kyle Holland

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