Ukraine Ready To Compromise On The Free Trade Zone With The EU

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine has expressed its readiness to compromise with the European Union on the free trade zone - the core issue of the ongoing Association talks, according to the Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov as a result of his meeting with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov

The progress in the Association talks in the recent months has been already noted.

According to the Ukrainian Prime Minister, 90% of the positions in the free trade agreement have already been agreed upon.

The key priority issues for Ukraine in the free trade zone are the agricultural production and automotive transportation.

As both parties concluded, the finalization of the Association agreement remains realistic to be completed by the end of 2011.

"We are close to complete the Association talks. I believe, that the signing of the Association Agreement, which includes the free trade zone, will be mutually beneficial and a huge step forward for Ukraine. This will embrace free access to the market of 500 million people, which will open a lot of opportunities to Ukraine. On top of that the European Integration of the country will contribute to its modernization. It will also raise the country's attractiveness for foreign investments", Jose Manuel Barroso said.

Also, Ukraine may require a transition period and compensation mechanisms for the local producers in the priority sectors.

Such provisions have already been embodied by the EU in the existing Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which comprises Association Agreements between the European Union and nine countries across the Mediterranean Sea (Syria, Tunisia, Israel, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon,and the Palestinian Authority).

The provisions of these Agreements include the WTO-compatible transition period of up to 12 years, varying between countries and sectors.

The latest round of the Ukraine-EU talks on the Association Agreement took place on April 4-8, 2011.

Overall, Ukraine and the EU have held 18 rounds of talks starting March 5, 2007.

The core of the Agreement is an introduction of a free-trade zone between Ukraine and the EU.

The Agreement will stipulate different aspects of economic and scientific cooperation between the EU and Ukraine as well as promote and enhance their political collaboration in the future.

Source: Worldwide News Ukraine

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