International trade

French producers want to end Ukraine’s duty-free imports

French poultry producers want to stop the surge of duty-free poultry imports from Ukraine which are meant to help the war-torn country’s battered economy.

In June, the EU announced a year-long lifting of customs duties on a variety of Ukrainian imports, including poultry. Now French poultry producers are complaining, and want safeguard duties imposed to stop a surge of chicken imports from Ukraine.

The official French reason is that instead of helping Ukraine’s poultry farmers, the duty-free decision benefited mainly one company, MHP, which is Ukraine’s largest poultry producer and exporter.

In response, MHP told Reuters that it was crucial that MHP and similar strategically important companies in Ukraine stay in business, “despite the extraordinary challenges and destruction of war”.

Ukraine could be forgiven for thinking that major French poultry producers are determined to protect their market despite the plight of a country in need of funds to fight a war of self-defence.