Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus has defended the government’s aid package for farmers affected by an influx of Ukrainian grain, stating that it does not violate World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulations. Telus responded to criticisms made by Ukrainian Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Kachka, who claimed that the support payments went against WTO principles.
Telus emphasized that Poland has not breached any WTO rules and that all forms of aid, including assistance for farmers, have been duly notified to the European Union (EU). Speaking on Wednesday, Telus stated, “We have not violated any WTO rules. All such aid, including aid for farmers, is notified with the EU.”
The controversy arose after Reuters reported on Monday that Taras Kachka had raised concerns about Poland’s EUR 2.2 billion farmer aid scheme during a session of the International Grain Council (IGC) held in London. Kachka argued that these subsidies exceeded the limits set by WTO regulations, stating, “These subsidies go far beyond what is allowed by WTO rules.”
Minister Telus refuted these claims, firmly asserting, “This is, of course, not true. We have not violated WTO regulations. We are well within the existing limits.”
Poland’s agricultural sector has been grappling with declining sales due to an influx of inexpensive Ukrainian grain flooding the domestic market. This surge in imports has led to reduced prices, leaving Polish farmers disconnected from their usual sales markets.
The Ukrainian grain, which was originally intended to transit through Poland en route to Africa and Asia, was permitted into the country as a show of support for Ukraine. As a major global grain producer, Ukraine’s export capabilities have been severely hampered by its ongoing defensive conflict with Russia.
Minister Telus’s comments aim to address concerns surrounding Poland’s aid package for farmers, asserting that the country has adhered to WTO regulations and acted within acceptable limits while providing support to its agricultural industry.