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Safeguard duties instead of sanctions: Ways EU to ban Russian grain imports revealed

Safeguard duties instead of sanctions: Ways EU to ban Russian grain imports revealed Photo: The EU will ban imports of Russian grain (Getty Images)

The European Union is preparing to impose tariffs on grain imports from Russia and Belarus to appease farmers and certain member states. Tariffs are more accessible to implement than sanctions, according to Reuters.

The Financial Times previously reported that the European Commission would propose tariffs of 95 euros per ton of grain from Russia and Belarus and 50% on oilseed seeds and their processed products.

One anonymous EU official stated that the figures are "about right," but they still need clarification. Another official said that this measure will likely take the form of tariffs, as trade measures only require the support of a majority of EU members, unlike sanctions, which require unanimity.

According to sources, the tariffs will apply to grain intended for use in the European Union, consisting of 27 members, and will not apply to transit grain through the bloc to other countries.

Ban on Russian grain

This step is prompted by farmers across the European Union calling for changes to restrictions imposed on them by the bloc's "Green Deal" plan to combat climate change and the reintroduction of tariffs on agricultural imports from Ukraine, which were lifted after Russia's invasion in 2022.

The effects of this move are not limited to the EU. Farmers from neighboring Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, all EU members, have also felt the impact, with many stating that this move has significantly lowered their prices.

Like much of Europe, Poland has recently seen protests sparked by farmer protests against EU environmental standards.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has urged the EU to ban the import of Russian and Belarusian agricultural products. This sentiment was echoed by many EU legislators during debates on the issue in the European Parliament last week, indicating a growing concern within the EU.

According to the European Commission, total grain and oilseed imports to the EU from Russia amounted to 1.8 million tons by the end of February 2023/2024. 19.1 million tons came from Ukraine.