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The European Union has announced that it will impose prohibitive tariffs on grain and other agricultural products from Russia and Belarus starting July 1.

European Union trade ministers agreed to set the tariffs at 95 euros ($102.76) per tonne for cereals and 50 percent of their value for oilseeds. Additional tariffs will apply to beet-pulp pellets and dried peas. This decision, made on Thursday, follows a proposal from the European Commission on March 22.

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Belgium’s finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem said the tariffs aim to effectively halt imports of grain from Russia and Belarus. “These measures will, therefore, prevent the destabilisation of the EU’s grain market, halt Russian exports of illegally appropriated grain produced in the territories of Ukraine and prevent Russia from using revenues from exports to the EU to fund its war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Russia quickly condemned the new tariffs. In a statement, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “The new messages from the EU will yet have to be analyzed, but their ideology is clear—they want to squeeze Russia out of everything.”

This comes as the European Union has witnessed a significant increase in grain imports from Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. According to Eurostat, imports increased from under $130 million in 2020 to $314 million in 2021 and surged to $475 million in 2023.


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