The European Union (EU) is to temporarily cut tariffs on Ukrainian exports until November 1, 2014. The EU said that it hopes in the meantime to sign the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) agreement with Ukraine.
The College of Commissioners has agreed to a package put forward by Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, which will see the EU open its doors to exports from Ukraine.
Announcing the package, de Gucht said that if the (DCFTA) is not reached, the EU could prolong the use of the temporary tariff breaks past November 1.
De Gucht explained, "the 'one-way' trade system will allow for almost full preferential access for Ukrainian goods onto the EU market place – without any reciprocity from Ukraine but with a number of key restrictions. We have, of course, included certain conditions to prevent abuse from third countries – I'm referring to the rules of origin."
"We have also put in place important safeguards to prevent sudden damaging surges of products onto the European marketplace which would harm our companies or key sectors such as agriculture."
The EU calculates that the tariff reductions included in the original, as yet unsigned trade agreement, could benefit the Ukraine economy to the tune of EUR500m (USD690m) a year. According to De Gucht, "even a few months of this unilateral agreement would be expected to bring gains in the hundreds of millions of euros for Ukraine."
He urged the European Parliament and EU member states to fast track his proposal. The aim is to have the reductions in place by June.