Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Eu to Open Free Trade Talks with Kiev in 2007

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Eu to Open Free Trade Talks with Kiev in 2007

Article excerpt

After months of stalemate during which the European Union was awaiting the new Ukrainian government to be formed and be fully up and running, the European Commission decided on 13 September to speed up the work on the new enhanced cooperation agreement with Ukraine.

The College of Commissioners has proposed negotiating directives for a more comprehensive agreement with Ukraine to replace the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The adopted guidelines pave the way for the opening in early 2007 of negotiations between the parties on a comprehensive new document, covering all areas of EU-Ukraine activity, the free trade arrangements in particular.

'The new agreement will aim to build on Ukraine's forthcoming accession to the WTO with a free trade area that creates a strong foundation for closer trade and economic relations between the EU and Ukraine,' commented Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.

However, the Commission has set a condition for the opening of negotiations on a Free Trade Area, requesting Ukraine to first adopt the remaining items of legislation necessary for its accession to the World Trade Organisation (Ukraine has been negotiating its WTO accession since 1994). The pressure on Ukraine to conclude WTO negotiations is part of the Commission's strategy to encourage the government of Ukraine to speed up structural reforms to modernise its economy and improve business and investment climate.

Apart from the free trade arrangements, the new agreement is to include provisions on common values, closer cooperation on justice, freedom and security, extensive provisions on energy, and cooperation in a broad range of areas such as transport and environment. …

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