Hungarian farm minister to visit Turkey for talks on Black Sea grain deal


BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Hungary’s farm minister will go to Turkey on Tuesday for talks with his Turkish counterpart about extending the deal that allows Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports, the minister said on Facebook.

The deal is due to expire next week. Moscow has said it sees no grounds to extend it beyond July 17.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea deal between Russia and Ukraine in July 2022, aiming to prevent a global food crisis by allowing Ukrainian grain trapped by Russia’s invasion to be exported from Black Sea ports.

“Turkey is a key player in the long-term handling of market difficulties caused by Ukrainian grain imports (in Central Europe),” Hungarian Minister for Agriculture Istvan Nagy said.

Nagy said he was holding talks on behalf of countries in Central and Eastern Europe that have been affected by increased Ukrainian grains flows.

Ukraine has increased its reliance on routes through Eastern Europe. Five countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have sought import restrictions on the shipments, complaining cheaper Ukrainian grain was making domestic production unprofitable.

The European Union on May 2 allowed the five countries – Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, while allowing grain shipments to transit through them for export elsewhere, including to other EU countries.

The European Commission last month extended these sales restrictions on Ukrainian grain for the five countries until Sept. 15.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Tom Hogue)

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