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Romanian may extend trade ban on Ukraine grain if import requests rise -PM

Romania would look to extend a trade ban on Ukrainian grain for 30 days if import requests rise, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said on Monday after a European Commission-endorsed ban of imports into Ukraine’s five neighbours expired last week.

Romania is one of five eastern EU countries alongside Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia that saw a surge of Ukrainian grain imports after the start of the war, which distorted local markets and prompted protests from farmers, leading the EU to approve trade restrictions – while still allowing transit – until Sept. 15.

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced their own unilateral bans on Friday. Romania has not acted separately yet.

Ciolacu said Romania had not seen requests to import grain from Ukraine since Friday and did not want a repeat of the situation earlier this year that impacted Romanian farmers.

“The Ukrainian prime minister promised to send the export licensing proposal today, which we will discuss,” Ciolacu said.

“If there will be export requests to Romania I will ask the agriculture and economy ministers to draft an order extending the ban for a period of 30 days until things are clarified.”

The Bulgarian parliament voted to lift its ban on Ukrainian grains last week.

The EU Commission said Ukraine agreed to introduce any legal measures including an export licensing system within 30 days to avoid grain surges.

The countries of central and east Europe have been some of Kyiv’s strongest allies in its fight against Russia’s invasion since February 2022, but grain exports have been an area of friction.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday countries should refrain from unilateral measures against imports of Ukrainian grain.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the EU’s decision not to further extend the ban on grain exports, but said on Friday his government would react “in civilised fashion” if EU member states broke EU rules.

Romania’s Black Sea port of Constanta is Ukraine’s biggest route out for grains.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Luiza Ilie, writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by Bernadette Baum0)

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