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Trade Measures to support the Ukrainian Economy

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 23 February 2023

In May 2022, the United Kingdom led the world in being the first country to fully liberalise its trade with Ukraine, by removing all remaining tariffs under the UK-Ukraine political, free trade and strategic partnership agreement. This set an ambitious precedent, which I am pleased to say has been followed by similar initiatives from the European Union, Canada and other partners.

Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine has impacted Ukraine's ability to export goods and disrupted their usual supply chains and transport routes. This is why it was so important that the UK acted when it did to liberalise remaining tariffs and provide much needed support to Ukrainian businesses. Although overall imports to the UK from Ukraine have decreased (with goods imports down almost 50%, or £410 million, in the 12 months to the end of November 2022, compared with the previous year), imports of barley and poultry have benefited from our liberalisation package and are higher than they would otherwise have been. This demonstrates the benefit of the temporary tariff liberalisation to Ukrainian exporters.

In late 2022, President Zelenskyy requested that the temporary tariff liberalisation be extended. This Government remain as committed as ever to supporting Ukraine in their hour of need, so I can confirm our intention to deliver on this request. My Department will work with His Majesty’s Treasury in due course to lay the necessary statutory instrument to extend the temporary tariff liberalisation to early 2024. The liberalisation of all tariffs for imports from Ukraine will continue to be applied to the whole of the United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the United Kingdom will continue to do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutal invasion and ensure its long-term security and prosperity.