Slovakia, Ukraine agree grain trade system to replace ban -Slovak ministry

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Sept 21 (Reuters) – Slovakia and Ukraine’s farm ministers have agreed to establish a licensing system for trading in grains, allowing a ban on imports of four Ukrainian commodities to Slovakia to be lifted once the system is set up, the Slovak Agriculture Ministry said on Thursday.

Slovakia, Poland and Hungary announced national restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports last week after the European Commission decided not to extend its ban on imports into five EU eastern European member states.

The row escalated as Ukraine, which has used land routes to the west to make up for lost export possibilities by sea amid Russia’s invasion, filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the bans.

“(Ministers) agreed on creating a grain trade system based on issuing and controlling licences,” the Slovak ministry said in an email.

“Until this system is up and running and fully tested, the ban on imports of four commodities from Ukraine remains in place.”

Ukraine also agreed to halt the complaintat the WTO, the Slovak ministry said.

The Slovak ministry did not give details on how the licencing system would work.

The Slovak ban on imports was approved until the end of the year.

The countries imposing the national bans argue that cheap Ukrainian wheat, meant mainly for transit further west and to ports, ruins their internal markets.

For much of the last year, some 60% of Ukrainian grain has transited through the five eastern EU countries, which also include Bulgaria and Romania.

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