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Romania Emerges as Ukraine's Agri-Export Gateway Amidst EU Tensions

Romania Emerges as Ukraine's Agri-Export Gateway Amidst EU Tensions
photo: RAILTARGET Archive/Romania Emerges as Ukraine's Agri-Export Gateway Amidst EU Tensions
26 / 10 / 2023

Amidst ongoing agricultural tensions, Romania has made a strategic move, greenlighting the expansion of its transit corridor for Ukrainian grain. This decision effectively means that nearly 70% of Ukraine's agricultural exports will find their way through Romanian channels. From the existing two million tons monthly transit, the plan is to elevate the figure to four million tons.

While the European Union had lifted tariffs and quotas facilitating the transit of Ukrainian grain to multiple European countries, the grain market in surrounding nations became flooded. As a result, local farmers in countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria faced challenges in offloading their produce. This led to protests, pushing these nations to initially ban the import of Ukrainian grain. Though the European Commission's ban lapsed and wasn't renewed, nations like Poland remained resolute against grain imports from Ukraine. Amid this backdrop, Romania's decision stands out. On October 13, Romania delineated its terms, allowing the import of specific Ukrainian agricultural products—wheat, corn, sunflower, and soybeans—but with the stipulation that the imports must be licensed by the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture.

Romania's stance has been hailed as a balance between supporting Ukraine and safeguarding the interests of its own farmers. Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu expressed the country's commitment to aiding Ukraine in its grain transit endeavors. However, he stressed the importance of ensuring Romanian farmers and local producers remained protected.

"We are implementing a mechanism to safeguard Romanian farmers and local producers against the influx of Ukrainian grain imports. The agreement, reached with our Ukrainian counterparts, will permit the import of a limited quantity of grain exclusively under license, and solely for our farmers and processors looking to restock," comments Marcel Ciolacu.