16:29 18.12.2013

Eased Russian customs rules to save Ukraine $1.5 bln in 2014, says minister

The restoration of the former liberal customs regulations on imports from Ukraine that Russia committed itself to under an agreement reached on Tuesday will save Ukraine about $1.5 billion in 2014, according to Ukrainian Industrial Policy Minister Mykhailo Korolenko.

Ukraine saw its exports drop by $1.4 billion in 2013 after Russia tightened its customs rules for imports from the neighboring country this year, the minister said at a briefing at the cabinet on Wednesday. As a result, Ukraine's exports for the period from January to October showed a 10% year-on-year decline.

Russia's stricter regulations have affected practically all Ukrainian industries, but mainly the motor vehicle, railcar and pipe manufacturing sectors, Korolenko said.

He cited expert projections that Ukraine would have had to slash its exports to Russia by between $4 billion and $4.5 billion a year if the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych, had not signed Tuesday's customs accord in Moscow.

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