Ukraine: EU offers additional help by easing trade

MEPs have given their backing to the granting of additional trade facilitation for Ukraine in order to address the difficult economic situation in the country and to support its economic reform efforts.

When adopted, these measures include zero tariff quotas for some agricultural products like oats, honey or maize, and the removal of import duties on 23 industrial products such as fertilisers, footwear, certain metals and electronic equipment. They will apply for three years, in addition to the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

“The EPP Group has always supported the efforts of Ukraine to become closer to the European Union. We have to keep in mind that the country is in an extremely difficult political and economic situation. While conducting profound reforms, the government needs to deal with the consequences of the illegal annexation of Crimea and at the same time, tackle the military conflict provoked by Russia in the east of the country. Moreover, Russian authorities imposed further restrictions on the Ukrainian economy, including an embargo on agri-food imports and the banning of the transit of goods to Central Asia. This is the price that Ukrainians are paying for their Euro-Atlantic aspirations. As parliamentarians, we need to do our utmost to show our support”, said Jarosław Wałęsa MEP, the author of the Parliament’s position.

The compromise reached by Wałęsa amongst the political groups foresees that the core of the benefits stemming from the facilitated trade with Ukraine goes directly to small and medium-sized enterprises and doesn’t entail negative consequences for either European agriculture or industry.

A special clause foresees the exclusion from the list of products which are considered sensitive for European agriculture and industry such as wheat, processed tomatoes and urea (which serves to produce some fertilisers). It is provided that the European industry or its representatives might activate the safeguard clause in cases where a product originating in Ukraine threatens to cause serious difficulties to European producers. It is also emphasised that the fight against corruption should be one of the preconditions for granting the preferential treatment.

The text will be put to the vote on Thursday, opening the way for Mr Wałęsa for further negotiations with the EU Council and the European Commission in order to adopt the legislation soon.

  • Source : eppgroup.eu
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