“This is the next sign, after the visa liberalisation, that the European Union wants a pro-European Ukraine and will facilitate this difficult path”, said Jarosław Wałęsa MEP commenting on today’s vote granting Ukraine temporary additional access to trade-facilitating measures with the EU. “The EPP Group has always supported the efforts of Ukraine, now it is time to demonstrate it in concrete terms”, he declared.
The vote confirms the deal reached in late June between the Parliament, the European Commission and EU Member States whose aim was to support the Ukrainian economy and at the same time ensure that the proposed measures do not adversely affect EU producers and farmers. It proposes to introduce the zero-tariff quota for limited quantities of 8 agricultural products (maize, wheat, barley, granulated barley, oats, natural honey, processed tomatoes, grape juice). It also proposes a partial or full removal of import duties on 22 industrial products (fertilisers, footwear, certain metals and electronic equipment).
“We were fortunate to reach the conclusion in such a timely fashion because Ukraine is counting on our support”, said Wałęsa, Parliament’s standing Rapporteur for Ukraine on the International Trade Committee. “By granting new concessions we want to back ongoing reforms, strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and provide the necessary impetus for increasing trade flows. I hope this will prove to be both economically and politically advantageous to the people of Ukraine.”
More precisely, the adopted regulation provides for the strict control of goods originating outside the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government like Donbas; the temporary suspension procedure upon request and with the Commission’s approval within 4 months of such a request; a safeguard clause for European industry in case the product originating in Ukraine causes or might cause serious difficulties to EU producers; the support for economic and political reform efforts in Ukraine and the importance of fighting corruption, organised crime and all other illegal activities while at the same time enforcing sustainable development and effective multilateralism; respect for the obligation to cooperate on matters related to employment, social policy and equal opportunities.
Moreover, the European Parliament insisted that the beneficiaries of the autonomous trade measures are closely followed and that good care is taken to ensure that the core of the benefits goes to SMEs rather than the big companies that use the additional quota.
The zero tariff quotas were reduced for: honey (2500 tons/year), processed tomatoes (3000 tons/ year), wheat (65,000 tons/ year), maize (625,000 tons/year) and barley (325,000 tons/ year). Urea (a substance used to make fertilizers) was deleted from the industrial list. The measures will enter into force on 1 September and will apply for 3 years.