A proposal from the Ukraine government to raise its import tariffs on all kinds of meat and poultry would hit European Union (EU) pork meat exports to the country, the claims secretary general of the European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV) has claimed.
Import duties on pork products entering Ukraine are currently at 10% to 12%, according to UECBV secretary general Jean-Luc Mériaux, but Ukraine has informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it wanted to renegotiate import tariffs, which would also affect another 349 categories of goods, apparently due to its increasing trade deficit and concerns about the global economic slowdown. The Ukrainian government has not yet made public the percentage by which it wanted to increase meat import tariffs.
Mériaux told GlobalMeatNews.com that this move comes as EU pork exports to Ukraine have been increasing dramatically.
According to UECBV, Ukraine has seen an increase in pork imports due to a slowdown in its domestic pork production last year and high domestic prices in pork and poultry meat this year.
“It is obvious that an import tariff increase will hit the EU pork export, more especially when EU pork is becoming more expensive due to a surge in domestic prices,” said Mériaux, noting the EU monthly average, in €/100kg carcase weight was €151.41 in January and €190.04 in September.
“In 2011, the EU exported around 114,000 tonnes (t) to Ukraine or 3.6% of the total EU pork products exports,” Mériaux explained. This year already from January to August, exports have reached 110,000t, with Ukraine receiving 5.6% of the total pork products of the EU in the first eight months of 2012. “It is an increase of 70% compared with the same period in 2011,” he added.
Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain are the main EU countries supplying pork products to Ukraine, he said. The UECBV has put the increase of pork imports into Ukraine on behalf of a domestic pork production slowdown in 2011 and high pork and poultry meat prices in 2012.
WTO members have 90 days to react to the Ukrainian proposal. So far, the Ukraine government has not formally ordered the duty increase, according to Mériaux.
The EU and Ukraine have been negotiating a free trade agreement over the past few years. “Therefore, due to that process, it is hoped that any project for change in tariff will be notified to the EU Commission services for information and consultation,” said the UECBV secretary general.