EU to Reimpose Tariffs on Ukrainian Sugar and Eggs

The European Union (EU) is reportedly preparing to reintroduce tariffs on sugar and egg imports from Ukraine, effective Friday, to protect its farmers from a surge of inexpensive goods, according to the Financial Times (FT).

EU member states previously agreed to implement an “emergency brake” mechanism this year, triggering tariffs if imports from Ukraine reach a specific volume.

The FT reports that imports of eggs and sugar have now exceeded this threshold. Tariffs of €419 ($448) per ton of white sugar and €339 ($362) per ton of raw sugar will be announced on Friday, according to the publication. Additionally, eggs will be subject to a 32 cent per kilogram tariff.

Ukraine has emerged as the EU’s primary supplier of eggs, as the bloc’s poultry industry has faced challenges from bird flu outbreaks in recent years. Imports from Ukraine increased by 75% in 2023 and continued to climb at the beginning of this year, based on EU data.

Last week, tariffs were reinstated on Ukrainian oats due to import levels surpassing the established limit.

The decision to restrict Ukrainian imports follows months of protests from farmers. Agricultural workers argue that EU policies are jeopardizing their livelihoods.

Following the initiation of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Brussels removed all tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian agricultural goods for a year, facilitating the export of these products to global markets.

Farmers in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and other neighboring countries organized protests, expressing concerns that they couldn’t compete with inexpensive Ukrainian imports that weren’t subject to the same tariffs and regulations as EU-produced goods.

In April, EU lawmakers extended Kiev’s duty-free access to member states’ markets but also decided to establish limits on Ukrainian farm imports including oats, corn, maize, honey, eggs, poultry, and sugar. Duties would be imposed on these products if imports surpass average levels from previous years.

The anticipated reintroduction of tariffs comes shortly after the EU initiated membership talks with Kiev, “an agricultural powerhouse,” according to the FT. This move highlights the challenges that Ukraine will face during its accession negotiations, the FT added.