Increase in duty-free quotas for Opinion: Ukrainian honey could help EU reduce dependence on Chinese honey supplies

The renewal of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine next year can give a new impetus to the development of the Ukrainian honey industry

The renewal of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine next year can give a new impetus to the development of the Ukrainian honey industry, strengthen the country's position in the EU market and reduce its dependence on the supply of Chinese honey, which now forms about 40% of the total supplies in this direction, national consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Hanna Burka has said.

Now the Ukrainian honey market depends on supplies to the European Union, whose share in the total volume of Ukrainian honey exports exceeds 80% (in 2019 - 86%, in 2018 - 80%, in 2017 - 74% ). The EU countries are considered the largest honey importers in the world and about 40% of honey needs are met by imports, she said on her Facebook page.

"The signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, within the framework of which a deep and comprehensive free trade zone began to function, contributed to an increase in purchasing countries and an increase in the export of Ukrainian honey, and, accordingly, the flow of foreign exchange earnings into the country," Burka wrote.

So, in 2017, Ukraine exported 47,100 tonnes of honey to the EU, in 2018 – 41,000 tonnes, and in 2019 – 45,000 tonnes.

"A year after the signing of the Agreement, the number of enterprises that had the right to supply honey to the markets of the European Union increased to 52, and by the end of 2019 it was 72," the FAO consultant said.

In addition, the share of Ukraine in the import of honey to the EU countries also increased, if in 2013 it was 10%, then in 2019 it reached 22% (in 2018 - 20%, in 2017 - 23%). Accordingly, Ukraine became No. 2 supplier of honey to Europe, with China ahead.

"During the FTA, Ukrainian honey exporting companies are actively using the possibilities of duty-free tariff quotas. Both the main and additional preferential quotas for honey were used in the first days of the month. Despite the fact that the extra-quota volume is subject to an import duty of 17.3%, the export volumes of Ukrainian honey continue to increase. The current export volume is seven-eight times higher than the annual volume of the total quota, which confirms the interest of European partners in Ukrainian honey," Burka said.

According to her, it is obvious that the current volume of the quota (in 2017, the main quota was 5,200 tonnes, in 2018 – 5,400 tonnes, in 2019 – 5,600 tonnes, in 2020 – 5,800 tonnes; additional 2,500 tonnes was not revised) does not suit both the demand of Europe and the possibilities of the Ukrainian honey industry.

"The next Ukraine-EU negotiations should be aimed at both increasing the duty-free quota and reducing customs tariffs. As an example, the EU-Mexico cooperation model can be used, for which the preferential quota is 30,000 tonnes at a rate of 8.6%," said the expert.

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