15:15 08.01.2010

Ukraine, Russia should avoid politicizing economic issues, says Tigipko

Ukrainian banker Sergiy Tigipko, who is running for president, fears that political controversies may interfere with the issue of Ukrainian pipe exports to Russia.

"Though both states benefit from Ukrainian pipe exports to Russia, political issues may prevail over economic interests," Tigipko said in a comment on the reports of Russia's re-launching an anti-dumping probe into the import of certain sorts of pipes from Ukraine.

Tigipko referred to Russia and Ukraine's signing in 2009 of an extension to their agreement on selected steel pipe shipments, which will allow Ukraine to continue to supply pipes to Russia under a duty-free quota until the end of 2010.

"The agreement [on duty free imports of Ukrainian pipes] was valid for five years but was prolonged only for a year. Russia is a key market for pipe producers, whereas the risks on investment into pipe production are still very high. The launch of a new anti-dumping investigation may signal the closure of the Russian market for Ukrainian producers starting from next year," Tigipko said.

He said the antidumping investigation may be viewed as another lever of pressure on Ukraine. "The result of this investigation depends on the outcome of the presidential election in Ukraine and the policies of the future head of state," Tigipko said.

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