UK steps up support to Ukraine food producers with move to cut import taxes to zero

UK – The United Kingdom has stepped up its support for Ukrainian food producers with its recent decision to cut all tariffs to zero on all goods from Ukraine.

The move which is aimed to support the Eastern European country in its conflict with Russia cuts across all food products including barley, honey, tinned tomatoes and poultry.

UK said it will remove all tariffs covered by the existing UK-Ukraine trade deal and quotas will be removed under the free trade agreement.

The move comes following a direct request from President Zelenskyy’s government to liberalise tariffs and support the Ukrainian economy.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK will continue to do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion and help ensure the long-term security and prosperity of Ukraine and its people.”

Last week the UK also announced it was bolstering its current tariff sanctions against Russia, by increasing the list of products facing import bans and increased tariffs.

The news comes as the World Bank said the war in Ukraine had dealt a ‘major shock’ to commodity markets, altering global patterns of trade, production, and consumption in ways that will keep prices at historically high levels through the end of 2024.

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The World Bank’s latest Commodity Markets Outlook report said price increases for food commodities, of which Russia and Ukraine are large producers, and fertilizers, which rely on natural gas as a production input, have been the largest since 2008.

“Overall, this amounts to the largest commodity shock we’ve experienced since the 1970s. As was the case then, the shock is being aggravated by a surge in restrictions in trade of food, fuel and fertilizers,” said Indermit Gill, the World Bank’s vice president for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions.

The help to Ukrainian food producers comes as more Western multinational companies exit their Russia businesses in fear of a backlash from consumers.

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Mcdonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks were forced to bow to pressure and have already suspended their operations in the Russian federation.

It is estimated that more than 300 companies have now curtailed operations in Russia, according to a list maintained by a team at Yale University.

However other food manufacturers such as UK-based Unilever, Switzerland-headquartered Nestle, and German dairy company Hochland have maintained their operations in the country on a humanitarian basis.

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