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3 April, 2014 18:03   ▪  

European Parliament backs decision to cut customs duties on imports from Ukraine

About 98% of the customs duties that Ukrainian iron, steel, farm produce and machinery exporters pay at EU borders will be removed by a proposal backed by European Parliament on Thursday.

The measure still requires the formal approval of the EU Council of Ministers. However, the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has already announced that the preferences “will start to be  applied within a few weeks”

According to the official press-release of the European Parliament, this unilateral measure will boost Ukraine’s struggling economy by saving its manufacturers and exporters €487 million a year.

"As Putin closes Russian markets for Ukrainian exports, we are opening them" said rapporteur, Polish MP, Pawel Zalewski. The European Parliament backed his proposal by 531 votes to 88, with 20 abstentions. 

This unilateral trade measure, set to apply from May 2014, will remove 94.7% of   EU tariffs currently charged on industrial goods imports from Ukraine and reduce them for the remaining handful of industrial goods.

It will also remove EU tariffs on over 80% of Ukraine’s farm produce exports.

However, the EU will restrict the amounts of “sensitive” products, such as cereals, pork, beef, poultry, and processed food, that may be imported tariff free, so as not to harm the interests of EU producers of these products.

What is important, this EU trade “preference” measure does not require Ukraine to reciprocate by removing its own customs duties on imports from the EU, but will require it not to raise them.

EU imports from Ukraine will nonetheless have to comply with EU rules on origin labeling and the Ukrainian authorities will have to ensure that third country goods disguised as Ukrainian ones do not enter the EU via Ukraine.

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