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Ukrainian grain prices cause Polish ag minister to resign

Henryk Kowalczyk steps down as EU Commission extends duty-free imports for Ukrainian grain imports to Europe.

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot

Polish Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk resigned Wednesday as anger among farmers over Ukrainian grain import prices continues to rise.

According to Reuters, Kowalczyk decided to quit the position over the European Commission's decision to extend duty-free imports for Ukrainian grain until June 2024.

"Since it is very clear that the basic postulate of farmers will not be met by the European Commission, I have made a decision and resigned from the function of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development," said Kowalczyk in a statement.

With Black Sea ports blocked following Russian's invasion, Ukraine found alternative shipping routes through Poland and Romania, bringing large quantities of Ukrainian grains, which are cheaper than those produced in the EU, to the central European states.

Kowalczyk's resignation comes a week after the prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia wrote to European Commission to demand action on Ukrainian agricultural imports.

The prime ministers called for several measures to limit market distortions caused by the influx of Ukrainian imports. The letter said if these measures were not successful, tariffs and tariff quotas should be reintroduced.

Politico reports Kowalczyk will be replaced by Robert Telus, who chairs the Polish parliament's agriculture committee.

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