The Polish dairy chamber, the country’s largest union of dairy manufacturers, has called on the authorities to drop the restrictions on Ukrainian dairy imports.
“We demand the removal of these products from national regulation and appeal to European Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski so that the European Commission does not include milk in the list [of agricultural commodities] to be banned to import from Ukraine,” Agnieszka Maliszewska, director of the Polish Dairy Chamber, vice president COPA-COGECA told local publication BFM.
While import restrictions on Ukrainian grain seem justified to prevent Polish farmers from suffering substantial losses, they don’t make any sense in the dairy market.
“These bans do us more harm than good and are actually very disadvantageous for us,” said Maliszewska, warning that Ukraine can resort to mirror restrictions, and these would be quite painful for the Polish dairy producers. Maliszewska reminded that Poland exports much more dairy products to Ukraine than imports.
In the first quarter, Poland exported dairy products to Ukraine worth US$50 million. During the same period, imports stood at only US$4.8 million.
The Polish Dairy Chamber members warned that the authorities remained deaf to their arguments and did not consult with the market players about the planned restrictions. “I’m glad that at least Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski understands this,” said Maliszewska.
None of the 5 other countries mulling restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural export reported that milk and dairy products from Ukraine threaten their markets, she added.
The Dairy Chamber was supported by Agreement for Dairy, another Polish dairy business organisation.
“With the reduced demand for dairy products resulting, among others, from inflation, Polish milk producers and processors must now rely more than ever on exports of dairy products. One of the significant countries in the trade of dairy products in Ukraine,” Grzegorz Gańko, chairman of the Agreement for Dairy, said in an open letter to the government.
Ukraine holds a 17% share in the export of Polish yoghurt and 7% in cheese, Gańko estimated.
The European Dairy Association (EDA) also spoke in support of duty-free exports of Ukrainian products to the EU.
“As EDA, we clearly flagged up our support for the continuation of the ‘zero quota, zero tariff’ approach of the EU Commission when it comes to Ukrainian dairy exports to the EU. It goes without saying that we expect the respect of the reciprocity principle in a pro-trade approach,” EDA said in a statement.