EU Removes Customs Duties for Ukraine

EU's plans for unilateral trade liberalization were announced in March, when Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed the political part of the Association Agreement in Brussels, Photo by EPA/BGNES

MEPs decided to cut customs duties for Ukrainian imports, in a move to help Ukraine's struggling economy.

"About 98% of the customs duties that Ukrainian iron, steel, farm produce and machinery exporters pay at EU borders" are to be abolished, according to a press release by the European Parliament.

EU tariffs on more than 80% of the country's farm produce exports are also due to be removed after the vote.

WIth the measure adopted Thursday, the EU hopes to help Ukraine's manufacturers to save some EUR 487 M a year.

EP backed the proposal by 531 votes to 88, and 20 MEPs abstained. Under the new regulation, restrictions will be upheld only for "sensitive" products as cereals, pork, beef, poultry and processed food, as the EU wants to protect the interests of its own producers.

EP describes the move as "temporary and unilateral", as Ukraine is burdened with no reciprocal obligations.

This was agreed back in March, after Ukraine signed the political part of an Association Agreement with the EU.

The duty-free regime would be in force until November 2014, when other documents of the Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (envisaging bilateral trade liberalization).

Ukraine's troubled economy is seeking ways to prevent a collapse, after February's developments which led to the formation of a new government and the secession of the Crimean Peninsula.

Last week Kiev also signed a trade agreement with the IMF worth billions of euro.

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