Prime Minister Mykola Azarov met with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht in Kyiv on Wednesday to discuss the establishment of a free trade area between Ukraine and the EU and likely problems arising from it.
Azarov stated the Ukrainian government's willingness to address such problems through a constructive dialogue and compromise. He said that Ukraine counted on the European Union's assistance in dealing with likely complications in Ukraine's trade with other partners after the signing of the free trade deal in November. "A free trade area is a two-way road, so Ukraine is going to be confronted with problems that concern its partners. But the European Union, for its part, also has to take steps to facilitate Ukraine's foreign trade," Azarov said. He asked the EU Commissioner for "assistance in promoting Ukrainian commodities on the EU market and for technical assistance in implementing the norms of free trade that would take effect after the establishment of the deep and comprehensive free trade area. Karel de Gucht said that most of the provisions of the free trade agreement would be enacted soon after the agreement is signed and ratified by the European Parliament. Later on Wednesday, the EU Trade Commissioner met with Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council Secretary Andriy Klyuyev to discuss preparations for signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the prospect implementation of specific norms of the free trade agreement. Klyuyev pledged the government's utmost effort to properly implement the national legislative and normative acts adopted by parliament for European integration. According to him, Ukraine expects the deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU to allow it to both expand its exports and increase imports of innovative technologies, and thus accelerate economic growth. During his visit to Ukraine, the EU Trade Commissioner is also expected to meet with Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych.