The Hungarian government will take further measures and introduce tighter controls over grain imports from Ukraine “to make sure that the grain reaches its original destination”, Agriculture Minister István Nagy said on Saturday.
The ministry quoted Nagy as saying that grain and oil seeds imported in large quantities were causing problems to Hungarian producers. Ukraine, which enjoys duty-free status, has also started exporting large amounts of poultry, eggs, and honey to European markets, which “suppresses Hungarian products in their traditional markets and reduces farm gate prices below the cost of production”, the ministry said. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria have asked the European Commission to take measures to handle the “intolerable” situation, Nagy said. Farmers need stability and a predictable environment so that “they can go on with their production under the same conditions as their European peers,” he said.
Nagy has proposed that road transport system EKAER should be rolled out to grain and oil seed products to have a more precise estimate of imported quantities. He said the system would also allow for imposing fines on unannounced imports. As the EC refused to reintroduce duties for Ukrainian agricultural products in general, the government will propose a temporary reintroduction of duties and quantity restrictions for road or rail imports of Ukrainian grain and oil seed, the minister said. Hungary will step up its import controls with special regard to the goal that “shipments designated as transit should in fact leave Hungary”, Nagy said.