AgMin Consults With Counterparts on Ukrainian Grain Import Ban Extension

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Agriculture Minister István Nagy met with his counterparts from Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia on Tuesday to discuss extending restrictions on imports of Ukrainian farm products after a European Union ban expires on September 15, his ministry said.

Nagy met separately with Romanian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Florin-Ionut Barbu in Bucharest, Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture Kiril Vatev in Sofia, and Slovakian Minister of Agriculture Jozef Bires in Bratislava.

The Hungarian minister said a "common solution" was needed to manage the glut of Ukrainian grain in neighboring countries that materialized after Brussels exempted a number of products from customs duties and quotas. 

He pressed for an extension of the EU ban on imports of some Ukrainian farm products to neighboring countries "at least until the end of the year", but said Hungary would use "all available means" in its national scope of power to protect the interests of its farmers if the European Commission didn't address the issue.

He also reiterated Hungary's support for expediting transit shipments of Ukrainian farm products bound for traditional markets in the Middle East and Africa.

In a message posted on Facebook early Wednesday, Nagy said he had agreed with his Romanian, Bulgarian and Slovakian counterparts to take measures separately, in their national scopes of power, if Brussels failed to take a decision on extending the import ban past September 15.

The sides want to "harmonize" the process, he said, adding that other farm products would be banned in addition to wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seed.

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