State Duma to consider suspension of free trade zone between Russia, Ukraine

December 23, 2015 6:29 am 

MOSCOW, Dec. 22 — Russia’s State Duma is expected to give endorsement to a presidential bill on suspending the agreement on a free trade zone between Russia and Ukraine as of Jan. 1, 2016.

"We’re adopting this law to protect Russia’s economic interests as the economic chapters of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement (AA) are going into effect," Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told reporters.

On Dec. 17, President Putin submitted a federal bill on suspending the treaty on a free trade zone as regards Ukraine. The explanatory note appended to the bill said it envisioned suspension of the preferential treatment of Ukraine in trade relations.

The ancillary documents noted a radical change of circumstances, which Russian found meaningful when the agreement on the free trade zone was signed, in view of transition of the trade and economic chapters of the AA into legal effect as of Jan. 1, 2016.

"The Ukrainian side has de facto renounced development of trade and economic cooperation in the format of the CIS and has opted for the pathway of an all-round integration in the EU," the explanatory note said.

It pointed out in particular the tariff liberalization envisioned by the AA, which might inflict considerable damage on the Russian economy.

The note also said Ukraine’s obligations under association with the EU ran counter to the provisions of the agreement on the free trade zone in what concerned duty-free trade.

"This situation makes it necessary to take urgent steps towards the suspension of the Russian-Ukrainian agreement," it said. "The move meets Russia’s interests and conforms to its legislation."

President Putin said at the major annual news conference with Russian and foreign reporters earlier last week Russia was not going to impose any sanctions on Kiev but Ukraine would lose certain discounts and preferences after the suspension of the free trade zone. (PNA/Itar-TASS)



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