Now defunct, the Black Sea grain deal served these countries

Diana Estefana Rubio

Now defunct, the Black Sea grain deal served these countries

China was the leading export destination of agricultural products from Ukraine secured by the Black Sea Grain Initiative as of 17 July 2023, the date of the suspension of the agreement, at eight million metric tons. Low and lower-middle-income countries received nearly 20% of grain exports from Ukraine under the agreement.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was an agreement between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations that opened three Ukrainian ports for agricultural exports. However, Russia pulled out of the agreement under the pretext of the failure of the UN to comply with the second part of the agreement, which states that the UN would ensure that international sanctions are not applied to Russian agricultural products.

Read more: World leaders race to get Black Sea grain deal back on track

While the existing sanction regimes exclude Russian food and fertiliser exports, the Russian government argued that the measures imposed on the Russian Agricultural Bank and the fact that no vessel with Russian fertilisers had been sent since the launch of the initiative, hindered the implementation of the second part.

The Ukrainian grain market is one of the largest worldwide. In the trade year 2022/2023, Ukraine was the sixth-largest wheat-exporting region. Around 5% of total wheat exports came from Ukraine in that period. Furthermore, the country accounted for nearly 40% of global sunflower meal exports and 35% of sunflower oil.

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