Ukraine, EU launch free trade deal

Kiev, Jan 1 (IANS) A Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union (EU) was officially launched Friday after four years of preparation.

“The free trade agreement with EU launched! My greetings on the start of Ukraine’s economic integration into the European Union,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko posted on Facebook.

With a ten-year transition period, the DCFTA covers a range of economic sectors such as agriculture, heavy industry, machine building and light industry, and would gradually remove custom tariffs on over 90 percent of goods traded between Ukraine and the EU, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the Ukrainian government, the free trade area with the EU would boost Ukraine’s annual economic growth by at least 0.6 percent, promote exports by 2-3 percent each year, and create up to 190,000 new jobs.

The free trade deal between Ukraine and the 28-member bloc was initiated in 2012 within the framework of the comprehensive Association Agreement and was signed in June 2014.

Russia, which had a separate preferential trade regime with Ukraine, had long opposed the EU-Ukraine trade pact, warning that it would allow European products to flood Russia via Ukraine without import duties.

As the EU-Ukraine trade deal came into force, Moscow has suspended its free-trade agreement with Ukraine.

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