After the European Council voted to expand the free trade regime for another year on April 23, the European Union enabled the extension of the Autonomous Trade Measures with Ukraine, which the EU first approved on June 4, 2022. 

The policy suspends import duties and quotas on Ukrainian and Moldovan exports to the EU for another year, according to the European Council’s official press release

“The EU’s autonomous trade measures for Ukraine will apply from 6 June 2024 until 5 June 2025 and concern the continued suspension of all outstanding customs duties and quotas under Title IV of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (DCFTA),” the EU states in its press release. 

There are some changes after the border crisis between Poland and Ukraine border that started in November 2023. The EU has included two safeguard mechanisms in the regulations. One is “a strengthened version of the existing safeguard mechanism” that will allow “the Commission to impose any measure provided that specific conditions are met.” The second safeguard mechanism will “oblige the Commission to reintroduce quotas if imports of poultry, eggs, sugar, oats, maize, groats and honey exceed the arithmetic mean of quantities imported in the second half of 2021, in 2022 and in 2023.”

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Both of these mechanisms should protect the EU market, according to the EU Commission. The autonomous trade measures will apply from June 6, 2024, to June 5, 2025.

Defending Ukrainian Skies – What Does Poland Have to Offer?
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Defending Ukrainian Skies – What Does Poland Have to Offer?

On July 8 Ukraine and Poland signed a security cooperation agreement which included a commitment to consider the use of Polish air defenses to intercept Russian missiles in Ukrainian airspace.

After Russia mined the Black Sea when invading Ukraine in 2022, Ukraine was not able to export its grain products through the Black Sea. Russia’s invasion provoked a food crisis in African and Middle East countries, many of which imported the majority of its grain from Ukraine. Railways and roads became an alternative, before Ukraine – having expelled Russian ships from the Black Sea with a deft military campaign – relaunched a grain corridor at sea toward the end of 2023.  

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But at the same time, truckers and farmers in Poland began blocking the border, angered by what they said was Ukraine’s use of a wartime easing of border restrictions to gain market share. They were also angry at cheap Ukrainian food imports. 

Despite the inconvenience of the protests, “protecting the local market” policies restricted Europe from regaining economic growth after a period of high inflation. Alongside challenges of aging populations, green transition, and ramped-up defense spending, the continent needs to clear hurdles for free trade to raise growth sustainably, according to the International Monetary Fund’s Regional Economic Outlook on Europe published on April 2024.

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