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Hungary widens ban on Ukraine food imports

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Hungary‘s government on Wednesday widened its temporary ban on the imports of Ukrainian agricultural products to include honey, wine, bread, sugar, and a range of meat and vegetable products.

The list of items to be banned were revealed in a government decree, after Budapest announced on Saturday a measure to halt the import of grain, oilseeds, and several other products.

In recent days, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia banned the import of grain and other food items from war-hit Ukraine after a slump in prices triggered protests from local farmers.

Bulgaria is expected to make a similar announcement on Wednesday.

In May 2022, the European Union allowed Kyiv to export its grain stocks through the bloc after the closure of the Black Sea shipping lanes following Russia’s invasion fueled a global food crisis.

Member states agreed to import certain products from Ukraine without quantitative restrictions, and without customs and official inspection.

However, a significant proportion of the products do not leave the EU but have been sold at dumping prices in the member states, Budapest said.

“In the absence of the obligation to comply with the strict production rules required by EU law, Ukrainian products have a competitive advantage… which causes serious disturbances in the internal market of the member states,” the decree stated.

Hungary’s decree, published overnight, said that its ban would also apply to flour, cooking oil, and wine imports.

The temporary ban will last from Wednesday until June 30, but will not apply to the transit of these products through Hungary, the decree said.

Hungarian authorities will seal shipments of the affected products at the border and monitor them with the help of electronic devices and patrols, it added.

Carriers who break the rules may be fined up to the full value of the shipment.

Poland and Ukraine on Tuesday struck a deal to allow Ukrainian grain to transit through Poland after Warsaw banned imports.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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