Business met with the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy
On March 16, the European Business Association met with Oleksandr Gaidu, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy.
Business was informed that the Verkhovna Rada is currently considering the first package of 37 eurointegration draft laws, including 6 ones related to agriculture. The Committee is also developing supporting documents and, in addition, working on drafts that are not directly related to eurointegration but are no less important for the agricultural sector. Therefore, during the meeting, Mr. Gaidu updated business about the current status of these draft laws.
For example, the priority is the draft law on wine and winemaking, which should bring Ukrainian regulation in this area in line with European legislation. The Committee is working on the final text with representatives of the wine industry to form a balanced position. The Committee is also ready to consider the possibility of incorporating the EBA’s proposals on amendments to the legislation in the alcohol industry.
Next week, the draft law “On Fish” will be submitted for a second reading. This document envisages reformist approaches to regulating the fishing industry. For example, the digital system eFish will be introduced.
Last year, the land reclamation reform was launched and the work in this direction continues. Thus, in the Odesa region, there are already plans to establish the first 14 water user organizations (WUOs).
Unfortunately, vast areas are currently contaminated with mines, making it impossible to conduct agricultural activities. According to Mr. Gaidu, a working group on demining has been set up, as well as coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Emergency Service. For example, the possibility of abolishing the tax on land plots where there is a mine threat is being discussed.
The Committee has been developing draft law No. 7588 on the effective use of state-owned land for 4 months and plans to pass it for a second reading.
The Committee also wants to support the dairy industry, which has suffered significantly during the full-scale war and is currently working on two draft laws. The Committee plans to register them as soon as possible, and then engage business representatives to improve the text between the first and second readings.
The EBA Dairy Committee generally supports the repeal of the Law of Ukraine “On Milk and Dairy Products”. At the same time, there is a proposal to retain some terms from the law and to prescribe them in new legislative initiatives. Therefore, the EBA will share its experience with the VRU Committee.
It was also noted that the VRU and the Committee were divided on the introduction of a tax on waters, including mineral and carbonated drinks with the addition of sugar or other sweetening or flavouring substances.
The EBA provided the Committee with proposals to the draft law “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Improving State Regulation of Food Security and Livestock Development” No. 8290. The Committee considered them and supported the text. So soon the initiative will be submitted for the first reading in the Parliament. A letter from the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada is also expected stating that the draft law is a eurointegration project and is mandatory for adoption.
The Committee supports the proposal to automatically recognize feed additives registered in the EU in Ukraine. The European Business Association has been emphasizing the importance of such a decision for years.
Besides, the EBA Agrochemical Committee and the EBA Grain & Oilseeds Committee consider it necessary to finalize draft law No. 8340, which brings state regulation of the plant protection sector closer to EU standards. In particular, the clause on the use of plant protection products by drones is problematic, as the Ministry of Environment currently has no methods for registering such technology. This issue is also not fully regulated by the European Union. Problems may also arise with the transfer of state control over seeds from customs warehouses to border checkpoints. Currently, such checkpoints do not have the capacity to do so, so the business considers it advisable to introduce a transition period so that laboratories have time to buy equipment and recruit inspectors. Mr. Gaidu invited the Committee’s experts to participate in the finalization of the draft law for the second reading.
We sincerely thank Mr. Gaidu for the productive discussion and look forward to further cooperation!