EU states set higher tariffs on Russia and Belarus grain imports

EU states agreed on Thursday to significantly increase tariffs on certain agricultural products from Russia and Belarus. With the new tariffs, the Union hopes to make imports so expensive that they will virtually cripple exports from Russia.

From 1 July, there will be higher tariffs on grain products coming into the European Union from Russia and Belarus. This was decided by European Union member states on Thursday. More specifically, import tariffs will be raised to €95 per tonne for most cereal products or 50 per cent of the total value for other products. The tariffs will not apply to transit to third countries.

The decision follows a proposal by the European Commission in March to increase duties by product category in an attempt to limit Moscow's profits and seal off the EU market. Under World Trade Organization rules, virtually all Russian grain has until now been exempt from EU import duties. "These measures will prevent the destabilisation of the EU's grain market and halt Russian exports of illegally appropriated grain produced in the territories of Ukraine," said Vincent Van Peteghem, the Belgian Finance Minister.

Total grain and oilseed imports from Russia and Belarus into the EU last year amounted to almost five million tonnes, worth some €1.5 billion. That represents only a tiny share of the European market, but the Commission noted that imports had been on the rise since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.


A grain field in Pecq, Belgium © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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