Both Ukraine and the EU start benefiting from the Free Trade Agreement immediately after it came into force. Bilateral trade relations will largely depend on the trade policy that the EU will approve.
After the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) came into force, the trade turnover between Ukraine and the EU increased by five per cent in the first month already, said Dita Charanzova, member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Czech Republic, speaking at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “It is a good sign that the Trade Agreement can deliver,” she said.
Charanzova is optimistic as to the positive outcome of the Association Agreement ratification by the Netherlands. She explained that recently the EU faced resistance of Belgium’s regional parliament when trying to conclude the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU. However, the European Union found its way to achieve the consensus so that the agreement may start working. “There are ongoing negotiations between the Dutch government and the European institutions. We are really working hard to find a solution that came as a result of the referendum. Now as it was the case with Wallonia, [a region of Belgium that was vetoing the trade agreement with Canada – UCMC note], we hope to find a decision here as well,” the MEP is convinced. She also said that there are already claims filed to the Court of Justice of the European Union, to make a clear differentiation between the national and the EU competence in trade policy making. “When we have the decision in place, it will be much easier for us to understand where we are with Canada and with the future agreements,” Charanzova explained.
Charanzova also said that EU’s earlier priority was the trade agreement with the U.S. however now after Donald Trump’s victory, there’s less and less certainty that his administration will be ready to continue these talks. “Trade relations with our close neighbors have to become our priority again,” she said.
According to Tetyana Korotka, deputy business ombudsman of Ukraine, 20 per cent of the companies that appeal to the business ombudsman with complaints are the ones from EU member states. They are usually concerned with regulatory and taxation issues. “We are making systematic suggestions to the government that concern regulatory issues including international trade legislation, as well as financial and customs issues,” she explained.
Dita Charanzova emphasized that development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is key for Ukraine. “Our, Czech, experience was that you have to boost and facilitate to create the business environment where SMEs can grow. This is the key. We want to maximize our trade and economic potential, but the task on your side is to create the right business environment for it. We are ready to help and assist. Although, if you do not have healthy business environment, you will never be able to maximize the trade potential,” emphasized the MEP.
According to Lyubov Akulenko, executive director of the Ukrainian Center of European Policy, the share of Ukrainian export to the EU grew from 26 per cent in 2011 to 39 in 2015.
The discussion was held within the frame of #UkraineReforms, joint project of Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Kyiv School of Economics, Reanimation Package of Reforms and Stronger Together, which was launched in 2014 to support and promote reforms in Ukraine.