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Three outstanding issues remain in FTA agreement between Ukraine, EU, says Ukrainian PM

Interfax, Ukraine

Three outstanding issues remain in FTA agreement between Ukraine, EU, says Ukrainian PM

31 May 2011

The agreement on the establishment of a free trade area between Ukraine and the European Union is almost ready, although there are three unresolved issues remaining, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said.

"The agreement is virtually ready. Three unresolved issues remain, for which Ukraine will offer compromise approaches," he said at a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dimitrios Droutsas in Kyiv on Wednesday.

Azarov noted that First Vice Premier Andriy Kliuyev, who is currently in Brussels, has been given the green light to reach compromises.

Commenting on existing disagreements, Azarov said that he favored a liberal foreign trade policy, while the European Commission insisted on imposing quotas on Ukraine’s key export commodity such as grain.

Ukraine, however, is ready to support a transitional period, ten years for example, during which these quotas will be increased, the prime minister said.

The second disagreement centers on the services market, on which the European Commission is pursuing "a discriminatory position" as well because it is unwilling to allow Ukrainian air carriers to operate on its market, Azarov said.

"We have also proposed adopting a transitional period, during which restrictions will be canceled and we will be able to achieve the most optimal indicators for the services market," he said.

Kyiv and the EU are also split over the geographical names of Ukrainian commodities.

"We are ready for a compromise on this issue as well. We are prepared to scrap these geographical names during the transitional period," Azarov said.