Contrary to the agreements it signed with Ukraine and the European Union on September 12, Russia intends to impose duties on Ukrainian goods, reports Ukrainska Pravda, citing RIA Novosti, September 16. The announcement was made by Alexei Ulyukayev, head of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.
According to Ulyukayev, the Russian government will adopt a resolution on the introduction of duties for Ukraine and then postpone its implementation if Kyiv and Brussels fulfill their promise to postpone the implementation of the free trade section of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
“I think it’s the right symmetrical construction: Ukraine ratifies the agreement and we sign the ordinance. And, starting on November 1, we should also begin to apply duties on Ukrainian imports,” he said.
Ulyukayev stated that Ukraine can avoid the cancellation of the free trade zone with Russia only if by the end of October it takes “some action that demonstrates that we understand the Brussels agreements the same way.” Only in that case would Russia agree to keep the free trade system (with Ukraine) until the end of 2015, he said.
It should be noted that, according to the ministerial Russia-EU-Ukraine meeting that took place in Brussels, September 12, it was agreed to postpone the temporary implementation of the free trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine until December 31, 2015. Although this agreement does not provide for additional confirmations, the Russian Federation is demanding additional guarantees from Ukraine and the EU, accusing them of efforts to “undertake covert implementation.”
The Ukrainian government has announced that it does not intend to provide any additional guarantees.
In turn, the European Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht said that such a move by Russia would force the EU to implement the economic part of the Agreement with Ukraine early.
As previously reported, the tripartite agreement on postponing the trade portion of the Association Agreement called for a “trade truce” between Ukraine and Russia. Ulyukayev, who signed the trilateral statement on the agreement, officially committed the government of the Russian Federation not to initiate the expulsion of Ukraine from the free trade regime with the (Eurasian) Customs Union. Russian custom duties are much higher than in Ukraine and would have the result of driving Ukrainian suppliers from the Russian market.