EGGS and poultrymeat are two exceptions to a five-year extension of tariff-free trade for most goods exported from Ukraine into the UK.

Two years ago, the UK removed tariffs on most goods imported from Ukraine as a measure of support for the country in light of Russia’s invasion.

See also: How new EU border controls might impact the UK’s poultry and egg sectors

The initial exemption was set to run out in March this year. The EU and other countries implemented similar suspensions in support of Ukraine.

The UK government has now said it will extend this tariff-free trade for another five years, to 2029, but for poultry end eggs it will only be two further years.

Ukraine is a significant producer of both chickenmeat and eggs, with major integrations taking advantage of the country’s ample grain supplies and relatively low cost of production.

European measures

The UK’s announcement follows a similar proposal put forward by the European Commission at the end of January this year.

Europe has proposed to extend the suspension of import duties for another year, to June 2025, but will also bring in an ‘emergency brake’ for sensitive products – poultry, eggs and sugar – if imports exceed 2022 and 2023 levels. The EU parliament and member states still need to approve these measures.

The UK government said tariff liberalisation formed an “important part” of overall support to Ukraine, along with military, humanitarian and economic aid.

Welcome development

William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The extension of zero tariff trading terms for a further five years for qualifying goods is a welcome development.

“It plays a vital part in helping Ukraine’s economy at a time when they are under huge pressure, easing supply chain access.

“Alongside the Digital Trade Agreement, which aims to bolsters e-commerce trade between our countries, this extension will boost opportunities for Ukrainian business in key sectors such as oils, grains and other agri-foods.”

Safeguarding measures

The British Poultry Council (BPC) said: “BPC and the industry support the efforts and welcome the two-year extension as opposed to five for poultry and egg products.

“We will continue to work with Defra and DBT on monitoring trade flows so effective safeguarding measures can be put into place to protect domestic production.”

And Mark Williams, BEIC Chairman, added: “While it is important that we continue to support Ukraine, we are pleased that our concerns around importing eggs produced to lower animal welfare and food safety standards have been recognised, leading to a two year extension of duty free access as opposed to five years.

“These imports, from Ukraine and elsewhere, continue to put huge pressure on British egg farmers, and expose British consumers to lower welfare, lower quality eggs. We will continue to pressure Government to ensure other tariffs are not removed or reduced in any ongoing trade negotiations.”