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EU Is Set to Impose Punitive Tariffs on Russian Grain

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s executive arm has proposed putting punitive tariffs on imports of some Russian agricultural products to discourage flows and curb the country’s wartime revenue, according to a senior EU official.

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The duties would hit several items, including grains and oilseeds as well as some of their derived products, the person said. They will be set at 95 euros per ton or 50% of the value, depending on the product, and also apply to crops from Belarus.

The proposed measures, which would need the backing of a qualified majority of member states, were first pushed by a group of central and eastern European capitals. The curbs would not apply to goods in transit.

Russia exported 4.2 million tons of grain and oilseeds to the bloc last year, and the move is expected to stem flows of the goods, the person said. That amount remains a small portion of the EU’s overall imports.

“Our proposed prohibitive tariffs will make imports of these products commercially unviable, thereby also preventing possible future surges that could destabilize the EU food market,” said Executive Vice President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis. It would also shield the EU from importing any grain Russia has illegally stolen from Ukraine.

EU Mulls Restrictions on Imports of Russian Agriculture Products

A person familiar with the matter said several EU leaders had been pushing for the duties and noted that it was odd that some were discussing curtailing Ukrainian exports while the bloc continued to import from Russia.

European food producers have been pushing back against EU environmental rules and bureaucratic hurdles. They have also been upset by an influx of Ukrainian grain, as the EU seeks to buoy the nation’s trade during Russia’s invasion. Poland, Hungary and Slovakia last year introduced unilateral bans on Ukrainian crops bowing to the pressure from farmers who saw prices on their own products drop.

--With assistance from Ewa Krukowska.

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