EU FARMERS are furious Ukraine’s top poultry oligarch has managed to evade tariffs and increase chicken exports by exploiting a loophole within Brussels’ trade deal with Kiev.
In 2016, a trade deal between the EU and Ukraine gave the country the right to export a bony cut of
Yuriy Kosyuk, who owns MHP, which accounts for half of Ukraine’s chicken production, has allegedly been able to circumvent the EU’s stringent high tariffs and restricted import quotas by exporting an esoteric bony cut of chicken to the bloc tariff-free.
Under EU rules, higher tariffs and restricted import quotas are used to protect farmers from too much competition from imported chicken breasts.
In 2016, a trade deal between the EU and Ukraine gave the country the right to export a bony cut of chicken tariff-free to the bloc.
However, MPH’s bony cut is allegedly being sent to EU plants where the bone is being removed, with the meat then being marketed as high-quality chicken breast, according to Politico.
EU farmers are concerned that Ukrainians are abusing the loophole to evade tariffs and in the process are saturating the market with chicken breast, which is one of the EU most expensive and valued cuts of poultry.
In 2017, imports of Ukranian chicken breast with wing bone reached 27,000 metric tons, according to the European Commission. In 2015, zero tons were imported.
Environmental groups from the surrounding area however told local media they blamed the increase in use of chemicals for the mutated animals.
Ukraine is allowed to export 20,000 metric tons of chicken carcasses and an additional 20,000 metric tons of poultry meat, including chicken breast as part of its deal with the EU.
One of MHP’s broilers farms is the largest in Europe, while the company has 370,000 hectares of Ukraine’s highly fertile black soil under its control.
The business is currently sending its bony chicken to the Netherlands and Slovakia and is steadfast that it is trading appropriately, while it has denied accusations that it is attempting to destabalise its competitors within Europe.
John Rich, an MHP board member, told Politico: “Ukraine exports are currently around 70,000 – 80,000 [metric tons] or approximately seven to eight percent of total imports to the EU.
“As an offset, EU exports around 165,000 [metric tons] of poultry duty-free to Ukraine or 14 percent of the total Ukraine market.
“Ukraine diverted production away from other markets to supply the EU which has a looming poultry supply restriction to face.”
However, Lukasz Dominiak, Director General of Poland’s National Poultry Council, said: “We have [a] huge increase in imports from Ukraine.
“We treat it as the main danger for our internal EU market.”
By DANIEL KHALILI-TARI