EU Proposes Customs Duties on Russian and Belarusian Agricultural Imports

On March 22, the European Commission proposed to introduce customs duties on agricultural imports from Russia and Belarus to counter the surge in EU imports in 2023 and sever a significant revenue source for Moscow, accused of using these funds for actions against Ukraine.

The proposed tariffs, set to be either €95 per tonne or a 50% duty, are aimed at preventing market destabilization and discouraging current imports. This measure would also entail removing Russia and Belarus from the EU’s WTO-granted cereal quotas. However, they would not impact agricultural goods in transit to third countries or fertilizers, addressing global food security concerns.

The Kremlin has responded, cautioning that such taxes on Russian agricultural products could negatively impact European consumers, with potential price increases or supply issues. On the other hand, Kyiv has criticized the EU for granting Russian products access to the European market. Latvia has already banned food imports from Russia and Belarus, with the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Baltic States urging a total import ban to counter Russia’s influence.

This initiative has emerged amidst widespread dissatisfaction among European farmers, and requires approval by a qualified majority of at least 15 EU member states.