This strategy seeks to protect against potential black swans such as rising food commodity prices. (Photo by Diego Fedele/Getty Images)

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EU-Ukraine trade: Permit-free agreement for freight extended

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Ukraine and the European Commission have extended their freight liberalisation agreement, enabling Ukrainian cargo to enter the EU without permits for another year.

The move was announced by Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on June 19.

On X, he said the agreement also included a provision for an automatic extension through the end of 2025.

“This is an important step towards integrating Ukraine into the European Union area, increasing Ukrainian exports and European imports, strengthening the economy and stability,” Shmyhal said.

The free-regime agreement was initially signed on June 29, 2022 and has been renewed annually.

The latest amendment removes the necessity for Ukrainian carriers to obtain permits for bilateral and transit transport to the EU, thereby preventing disruptions of Ukrainian export goods at road checkpoints.

The agreement has been vital, especially since crucial Ukrainian Black Sea ports have been blocked following the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Still, the increased traffic at Ukraine’s borders with the EU has sparked protests from hauliers in neighbouring countries.

Thousands of trucks carrying goods were delayed for weeks at Poland’s border crossings with Ukraine due to protests that began last November and that recurred intermittently over several months.

The protesters demanded an end to permit-free access for Ukrainian truckers, arguing they were undercutting domestic prices.

Poland has been concerned about the risks of including Ukraine in the European Common Market, especially regarding its agricultural sector.

Earlier this year, ASAJA, one of Spain’s most important agricultural co-operatives, said internal tension in the European primary sector could “explode” given the “terrible working conditions” to which Brussels is subjecting them “with more and more regulations”.