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Ukraine Recovers Trade Losses From Polish Blockade Through Black Sea Grain Corridor

The National Bank of Ukraine reported on May 14th that Poland’s border blockade, during its initial month, led to $500 million in lost imports and $160 million in reduced exports. The protests, initiated by Polish farmers and truckers concerned about supposedly unfair competition from their Ukrainian counterparts, began in November 2023, continued intermittently into January, resurfaced in February, and largely subsided by late April. However, alternative supply routes and the new Black Sea corridor helped mitigate these losses.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, Poland became a crucial trade partner for Ukraine, absorbing 15% of its exports during the first year of the war. But, fluctuating wheat prices led to increased competition between Polish and Ukrainian farmers. This prompted Poland and four other EU nations to impose import restrictions on Ukrainian grain and agricultural products, leading to continued protests from Polish farmers.

The National Bank highlighted the success of the new Black Sea corridor in mitigating the impact of the blockade. Established a month after Russia terminated the grain deal in July 2023, the corridor has ensured continued maritime trade for Ukraine. The fully operational corridor is expected not only to help Ukraine recover from the blockade but also to re-establish its presence in traditional foreign markets. In recent months, Ukrainian food products have returned to Asian and African markets, while metallurgical products are regaining traction in Asian and American markets.

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