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21 Jan, 2024 13:03

Russia could control 30% of global wheat exports – French FM

Stephane Sejourne expects France to face inflation and a food crisis if Ukraine is defeated
Russia could control 30% of global wheat exports – French FM

Russia could take control over nearly a third of global wheat exports if it wins the military conflict with Ukraine, the new French foreign minister predicted on Saturday in an interview with Le Parisien.

In such a scenario, France would be hit by a severe food crisis and spiralling inflation, according to Stephane Sejourne, who argued for more financial aid to Kiev.

“If Ukraine loses, 30% of world exports will fall under Russian control, putting French wheat under threat on international markets,” he said, adding that financial aid is highly important for Ukraine’s President President Vladimir Zelensky, as he “needs to show his people that he is still supported.”

After the UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal fell through, Ukrainian producers had to export grain through the territories of neighbouring states. Back in 2022, the EU suspended tariffs on Ukrainian exports in a bid to financially support Kiev. As result, the major influx of cheap grain from Ukraine left EU farmers unable to compete with the low prices of imported goods.

The measures prompted several major protests by European agricultural producers over the influx of low-cost Ukrainian produce into the EU. In 2023, Polish farmers blocked border crossings with Ukraine on several occasions over the issue.

The crisis forced Brussels to impose a ban on Ukrainian grain imports in May 2023, which it unilaterally lifted in September. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania immediately reinstated the restrictions on the national level, prompting Ukraine to file a now-suspended complaint with the World Trade Organization. Bulgaria, which refused to join the four nations and reinstate the restrictions, was gripped by farmers’ protests in September 2023.

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