As the European Union raised tariffs on Ukrainian products leading to an increase in poultry imports, which has mainly benefited one company, French poultry producers have called for the temporary measure not to be renewed. , Reuters reported.
MHP is the largest food producer in UkrainePhoto: Dreamstime.com
In June, the EU raised tariffs to help the war-torn country and suspended quotas on Ukrainian agricultural products, including an annual limit of 70,000 tonnes of chicken meat from Ukraine.
The measure expires in June 2023.
EU chicken imports from Ukraine rose 54 percent from the second quarter of last year to around 52,000 tonnes, French poultry industry group Anvol said on Wednesday, forecasting total volumes for 2022 to be between 130,000 and 180,000 tonnes.
Before restrictions were eased, Ukraine was the third-largest source of EU chicken imports in the first six months of the year behind Brazil and Thailand, EU data showed.
“We were cheated,” the French charge
According to Anvol, imports of Ukrainian poultry to France, the EU’s second largest poultry producer, increased by 181 percent in the second quarter.
“We were deceived,” Anvol vice president Gilles Huttepain told reporters on Wednesday. “We agree to help Ukrainian farmers, but we don’t want to help a company,” he added.
Tariff exemptions for Ukrainian goods are valid for one year, and the European Commission has signaled it may reimpose the duties if EU producers face serious difficulties.
The European Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, said on Friday that Ukraine had asked to extend full trade liberalization until 2024, but no decision had been made.
The big winner is Ukraine’s leading food producer
Anvol’s Huttepain noted increased imports from Ukraine’s largest poultry producer and exporter and MHP, the country’s largest feed producer.
In a statement to Reuters, MHP attributed the increase in exports to the EU to the war in Ukraine, which has prevented it from accessing its traditional markets in the Middle East and Africa.
“It is critical that MHP and other strategically important companies in Ukraine remain in business despite the extraordinary challenges and destruction caused by the war,” said John Rich, MHP’s executive chairman.
“This is the main reason why tariffs have been temporarily raised in the EU,” he added.
In June, MHP said its poultry production capacity had been reduced to 80-85% of normal due to the conflict and could not provide a financial outlook for the current year.
The French also have internal problems
In addition to cheaper production in Ukraine, demand for poultry imports to France has increased due to falling domestic production after producers destroyed more than 19 million birds in the worst bird flu crisis in the country’s history.
Also, poultry imports from Brazil to France increased by 122% in the second quarter, Anvol reported.
Competition also comes from higher imports, as the sector is already suffering from rising costs due to higher grain and energy prices.
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