12:18 28.08.2013

Fule: Pressure on Ukraine to prevent signing of Association Agreement with EU is unacceptable

Any pressure on Ukraine related to its desire to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union is unacceptable, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule has said.

He also said that the concerns of the Russian side in relation to the possible negative impact on future trade with Ukraine were groundless.

An Interfax-Ukraine reporter said that the commissioner had expressed such a position during talks held with Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Andriy Kliuyev in Brussels on Tuesday.

"We also touched on the recent developments in and around Ukraine, and I reiterated the EU's position that any outside pressure on Ukraine related to its ambition to sign the Association Agreement with the EU is not acceptable," Fule said.

He also mentioned Russia: "There have been comments from Moscow that signing the Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (AA/DCFTA) would trigger a permanent tightening of customs procedures for Ukrainian goods entering Russia. Let me note that the AA does not prevent Ukraine from developing a constructive relationship with the Eurasian Customs Union as long as this is based on the respect of WTO rules and does not contradict the DCFTA."

He noted that Russia's concerns regarding possible rules-of-origin problems were also groundless. Fule said that in the context of the Russia/Ukraine free trade area, in the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), EU goods exported to Ukraine through the future DCFTA will not qualify for "preferential treatment when exported from Ukraine to Russia."

"Therefore, the signature of a free trade agreement with a third party, meaning us, may not be used as a justification for the tightening of customs procedures. Let me stress that the Association Agreement will not be at the expense of Ukraine's relations with Russia or other neighbors. And we strongly believe that it would bring benefit to all," Fule said.

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