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Ukraine negotiates duty-free apple exports to Egypt to compete with Poland

EastFruit analysts note a positive trend in Ukraine’s work on improving access to the leading markets for fruit and vegetables.

Given the crisis on the apple market in Europe this season described in detail in the article #Freshapplecrisis it is especially relevant for Ukrainian growers who work to improve access to the Egyptian apple market.

“Poland exports to Egypt about 100 thousand tonnes of fresh apples per season, and Ukraine does not supply a single tonne, despite the logistics for exporting apples to Egypt from Ukraine being better than that of Poland. The main reason is that Poland enjoys the advantages of duty-free trade with Egypt, and Ukrainian suppliers would have to pay import duties, which makes their apples uncompetitive in this market.” explains Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“If Ukraine had the duty-free access to the Egyptian market like Poland, according to my estimates, it could export up to 10 thousand tonnes of apples there, helping to mitigate the crisis on the domestic apple market. In addition, Egypt is one of the world’s largest importers of apples with the ongoing upward trend, which makes it very promising for Ukrainian farmers. Since Ukraine imports quite large volumes of citrus fruits from Egypt, apples would be a good way to optimize logistics for reloading. It is incredibly important now, and it would also reduce both the cost of importing citrus fruits and the cost of logistics for exporting apples.” the FAO expert notes.

During the 17th international conference “Fruits and Vegetables of Ukraine 2021. New investment opportunities” held in Kyiv on 2-3 December 2021, Vladyslava Magaletska, head of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection, talked to the Ukrainian growers and representatives of the Ukrainian Horticultural Association. Just a few days later, on 16 December, Vladyslava Magaletska reported on fruitful negotiations with the Egyptian party.

“I continue to work in Egypt as part of our delegation. I will immediately dwell on the main issues that can intensify trade and economic relations between the two countries,” she wrote on her Facebook page. Among the key points of the negotiations was the “Opening of the Egyptian market for Ukrainian apples. Today our apples are subject to additional duties, and as a result, they lose in price to Polish ones. We must resolve the situation and establish equal conditions.” In addition to apples, they also discussed the opening of the market for blueberries and cherries.

Ms. Magaletska also reported on the negotiations with the Egyptian colleagues responsible for phytosanitary and veterinary areas of cooperation: the Head of the Central Plant Quarantine Administration Ph.D. Ahmed Kamal El-attar and the Head of the General Veterinary Service of Egypt Dr. Abdelhakim Mahmooud Mohammed and other officials.

“Egypt is a very interesting country for Ukrainian growers. It is a gateway to Africa and a country of enormous potential and a population of 100 million. Therefore, we will work on expanding our cooperation and creating new opportunities for producers,” Vladyslava Magaletska said.

Let’s hope that duties on Ukrainian apples will be canceled before the end of the 2021/22 season. Apple prices on the Ukrainian market are now about 2 times lower than last year, affecting investments in horticulture, especially in the context of rising costs on fertilizers, plant protection products and other cost elements.

In addition to the State Service on Food Safety and Consumer Protection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy, which are removing technical obstacles to trade, have noticeably intensified their efforts to improve access to new sales markets. They also urge industry associations to more actively engage in the work and help officials with the search for the most relevant directions for export development.

The geography of Ukrainian apple exports is constantly expanding. In particular, Ukrainian apples have recently become a trend in the markets of Sub-Saharan Africa.

EastFruit

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