EU agrees 'prohibitive' tariffs on Russia, Belarus grain imports

European Union states on Thursday agreed to hike tariffs on grain imports from Russia and Belarus in a bid to cut off revenues to Moscow for its war on Ukraine.

The European Union has hit Russia with multiple rounds of sanctions to inflict damage on Russia's war chest following its all-out invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The latest measure will notably "tackle illegal Russian exports of stolen Ukraine grain into EU markets", the EU's trade commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, said on X.

The tariffs will also be applied to products from Belarus, which served as a staging ground for Russia's attack on Ukraine.

But the tariffs will not apply to Russian grain transiting through the EU to countries outside the bloc. This is to ensure that food supplies for elsewhere, notably Africa and Asia, are not impacted. Russian fertiliser supplies were not targeted.

Cereal imports

The European Commission proposed the measure in March. Under World Trade Organisation rules, virtually all Russian grain has until now been exempt from EU import duties.

From 1 July, the EU will increase "duties on cereals, oilseeds and derived products from Russia and Belarus to a point that will in practice halt imports of these products", the council representing the EU's 27 member states said.

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