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Hungary not to renew ban on import of honey from Ukraine

Hungary not to renew ban on import of honey from Ukraine Hungary will not renew the ban on importing honey from Ukraine (photo: Getty Images)

Hungary has no intention of reintroducing a ban on honey imports from Ukraine despite protests from local producers, who claim that cheap Ukrainian honey is lowering prices and threatening their businesses, according to Reuters.

Last year, the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban imposed a ban on imports of 24 agricultural products from Ukraine including grains, pork, and also honey. On Feb. 19 it abolished the import ban on honey, triggering protests from the country's around 22,000 beekeepers.

Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy told Reuters the unilateral import ban failed to have a positive impact on the local market as wholesale purchase prices have not increased to the extent that local farmers hoped for, while it hurt companies who packaged and exported honey to the EU.

"As the closure (ban) could no longer support the interests of Hungarian beekeepers, it had no palpable impact, we did not want to create even bigger problems ... that's why we had to reopen our market," the official said.

He also added that the government would not consider reintroducing the import ban. According to the European Commission, most honey imports to the EU come from China and Ukraine. Ukrainian honey accounted for 25% of the total honey imports to the EU in January-August 2023.

In Germany, the argument of European farmers against grain imports from Ukraine was refuted. According to German Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir, grain imports from Ukraine do not lead to price reductions in European countries. "There is simply no evidence of this," he added.

In addition, the Baltic countries have proposed that the EU ban the import of scrap metal from Russia. This proposal was submitted for consideration to the EU Environmental Council in Brussels on March 26. According to Deputy Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the EU Jurga Kasputienė, imports contribute to the financing of Russia's war against Ukraine and should be stopped.