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Moldova can sign free trade agreement with EU in no less than year

Kyiv Post, Ukraine

Moldova can sign free trade agreement with EU in no less than year

28 March 2013

By Interfax-Ukraine

CHISINAU - An agreement on Moldova’s admission to a free trade zone with the European Union (DCFTA) will be signed no sooner than a year’s time, Moldova’s Economy Minister Valeriu Lazar said at a Wednesday press conference.

"The talks are expected to be completed at the Moldova-EU Cooperation Council in June 2013, the document may be initialed then," he said.

"Twelve to fourteen months should pass between the moment of initialing the agreement and its signing. The tools to protect domestic markets and tariff proposals concerning farm produce remain to be discussed. Talks should not be rushed because quality is important and some aspects are very vulnerable," Lazar said.

He also said that the Economy Ministry is working on a Strategy of Adapting the Economy of Moldova to the formation of a free trade zone with the EU that will soon be disclosed to the public.

The Moldova-EU free trade agreement implies the gradual liberalization of trade in commodities and services, the free flow of manpower, the reduction of tariffs, technical and non-tariff barriers, the cancellation of qualitative restrictions and the harmonization of Moldovan and European legislation.

After the enforcement of the free trade agreement the current autonomous trade preferences will be cancelled. Initially the agreement was expected to be signed at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius last autumn. There Moldova also hoped to sign the EU association agreement and an agreement on liberalizing visa regulations. However, the resignation of the government and political crisis resulted in the suspension of talks on the agreements with the EU.