The country also needs an unblocked border to have access to the European market

Ukraine needs not only to achieve the extension of autonomous trade measures, but also to write it all into the Association Agreement so that it is in effect even before joining the EU, and to maintain an unblocked border to have access to the European market. Taras Kachka, Ukraine’s trade representative, said this in an interview with Yevropeiska Pravda.

He noted that this is not only the salvation of Ukrainian agriculture, but also an opportunity to find a new balance of trade.

As for the history with Poland, the Ukrainian trade representative said that it was very politicized from the very beginning, and it is important to achieve its depoliticization. In particular, he recalled that there is an agreement on a temporary end to the blockade until March 1 regarding the protests of Polish road carriers.

«We continue to work here, trying to explain that for trade between Ukraine and the EU, or rather for exports from the EU to Ukraine, this is the circulatory system, and therefore it would be almost suicidal for the European Union to refuse to liberalize the agreement on access to the EU market for Ukrainian carriers», Taras Kachka said.

In terms of agrarian issues, Ukraine is in a situation where farmers are blocking not only the border with Ukraine, but also ports and highways within the European Union. This means that it is now a common problem for the entire EU, which also affects Ukraine.

Taras Kachka also explained that the problem of trade flow that existed last year is now virtually gone. Ukraine has opened a sea corridor, grain exports have resumed, and domestic exporters have already shifted their focus to Odesa and the Danube.

The Ukrainian trade representative reminded that our country depends on the supply of pharmaceutical products, gasoline, and vehicles purchased by volunteers and sent to the frontline by road.

«That’s why blocking the border in times of war is immoral, unnecessary and absolutely counterproductive. We constantly emphasize this. I hope this time it will work and we will find some compromise solutions,» said Kachka.

In his opinion, the situation with the Polish border is not only against the interests of Ukrainian business, but also Polish business. In addition, the Polish economy has actually suffered more from the transportation blockade than the Ukrainian one. Taras Kachka emphasized that the parties are ready for a dialog.

The Polish market has always been important for Ukrainian producers and exporters of iron and steel products. The factor of its capacity and physically accessible logistics allowed Ukraine to increase supplies of steel products to this country even amid the war and a sharp reduction in production capacity – according to the State Customs Service, in 2023 they increased by 16% y/y in physical terms (up to 1.8 million tons). However, compared to the pre-war period, exports of Ukrainian iron and steel products to Poland have fallen, with raw materials and semi-finished products being supplied mainly. Poland, on the other hand, has managed to increase supplies of steel products to the Ukrainian market, although these volumes are still small.