10 June 2022, EU: More Moldovan plums, grapes and other agricultural products should soon be coming to European markets tariff-free. The European Commission has today proposed a regulation allowing for temporary improved market access for the remaining seven products from Moldova which are still subject to tariff rate quotas when entering the EU. This is a demonstration of EU’s solidarity designed to help Moldova deal with the loss of its main markets and transit hubs for these key agricultural products resulting from Russia’s unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression is not only severely affecting the economy of Ukraine, but also that of its and our neighbours, in this case Moldova. Today’s decision, more than doubling seven quotas for key Moldovan agricultural exports, is a tangible sign of EU solidarity.”
European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “Moldova’s ability to trade with the world has been dealt a severe blow by Russia’s brutal and illegal war. By facilitating market access for key agricultural products, the EU is helping Moldova to redirect affected trade. This will directly help Moldovan producers, supporting the country’s economic resilience in current difficult circumstances. The EU is once again stepping up to support a European neighbour.”
European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, said: “I hope that this unprecedented measure will support Moldovan producers in alleviating some of the market pressures in the short-term. In the longer run, we encourage our Moldovan counterparts to invest in processing capacities and higher added-value production. Raising the quality of their products even further will help strengthen the position of Moldovan producers on the EU market. We stand ready to provide technical assistance in this respect.”
Virtually all Moldovan products can already enter the EU tariff-free under the EU-Moldova Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).
The proposed measures cover the remaining seven products for which exports from Moldova into the EU are not yet fully liberalised: plums, table grapes, apples, tomatoes, garlic, cherries and grape juice. The regulation more than doubles – for the duration of one year – the amount of these products that can be imported tariff-free from Moldova into the EU. The potential tariff-free volumes will now be worth around €55 million, including approximatively €10 million of plums and €27 million of table grapes.
The additional liberalisation of imports into the EU will help Moldovan producers and exporters overcome the market losses they have suffered as a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Together with increased access to road transport in the EU (currently being negotiated between Moldova and the EU), the liberalisation should considerably facilitate the export of Moldovan products to and via the EU. In addition, we are open to discuss further reciprocal liberalisation, which would make the EU and Moldova advance one more step in the direction of full trade liberalisation.
The proposal now needs to be considered and agreed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
Moldova has benefitted from an Association Agreement, including the DCFTA, with the EU since 2014. This preferential trade system has allowed Moldova to take advantage of the elimination of tariffs for exports to the EU of all goods except seven agricultural products. Moldova also enjoys increased access to the EU services market and better investment conditions. For its part, Moldova has committed to approximating its legislation with the EU acquis in a wide range of areas.
The temporary and exceptional measures proposed by the European Commission today will further support and foster the existing trade flows from Moldova to the EU and support Moldova’s economy. This is in line with the main objectives of the Association Agreement, which are to establish conditions for enhanced economic and trade relations, leading towards Moldova’s gradual integration in the EU Internal Market, as well as to contribute to the strengthening of democracy and political, economic and institutional stability in Moldova.
The EU also supports Moldova with significant financial assistance to help the country deal with the situation created by the Russian aggression in Ukraine.