Hungary Extends Ban on Ukrainian Grain Imports

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Hungary extended a ban on imports of Ukrainian grain in a government decree issued late Friday after the European Commission decided to end a European Union ban on imports of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seed to neighboring member states, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The decree also extends the national ban to beef, pork, poultry, eggs, honey, flour, vegetables, and other farm products.

In a statement issued late Friday, Agriculture Minister István Nagy said the government had waited "till the last minute" for the EC to take a decision on extending the EU ban. "But Brussels did not listen to Eastern European farmers' request for assistance and basically entrusted Ukraine with the decision on what and how much to export to Hungary and the rest of the neighboring countries," he added.

Nagy noted that transit deliveries of Ukrainian farm products would still be allowed, but would be sealed at the border and tracked until they left the country.

Announcing its decision on Friday, the EC said market distortions in the member states bordering Ukraine had "disappeared". The EC also said Ukraine had agreed to implement "effective measures" to prevent market distortions in neighboring member states until it introduced legal measures, within 30 days, to avoid grain surges.

The EU import ban was introduced after the EC's decision to exempt Ukrainian grain from customs duties and quotas to expedite its export to markets in Africa and the Middle East produced a glut in neighboring member states.

In an interview broadcast on public radio on Sunday, Nagy called the decision to end the EU ban on Ukrainian grain imports a "coordinated effort in political guise to acquire market share" benefiting American, Saudi, and Dutch companies and investors.

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