Today Kiev and Brussels finally closed negotiations on conditions of creating a free trade area. Two days earlier in Sankt Petersburg, members of the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS) and Ukraine signed an agreement on establishing their own free trade zone.
The European Union and Ukraine announced today (October 20, 2011) concluding a formal process of negotiating conditions regarding the agreement on deep and comprehensive free trade (DCFTA). “Today we have passed a milestone in our relations – we have completed negotiations on a free trade area,” said European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht. The EU official added, however, that implementation of the agreement depends on political willingness of both sides. Creating the free trade area is one of the required conditions concerning the DCFTA between Ukraine and the EU, assumed to be signed by the end of this year.
Two days earlier (Tuesday, October 18) at the CIS summit held in Sankt Petersburg, Ukraine signed an agreement on establishing a free trade zone with members of this organization. There are seven CIS countries besides Ukraine (which, although being a founder state of the CIS, so far has not ratified its membership) agreeing to participate in the project: Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Moldova, Russia and Tajikistan. The process of ratification is analogous to the EU’s Association Agreement: the parliaments of all CIS member states must approve the deal.
According to Ukraine’s ex-President Viktor Yushchenko, signing such an agreement with the CIS would remove his country from the path leading it to the EU. “There cannot be two free trade areas on the same territory,” warns the former leader of the Orange Revolution, while in the opinion of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, both agreements are “points of one plan.” So it seems nothing changes in Ukraine.