KIEV, November 4 (Itar-Tass) — The agreement on the free trade zone within the Commonwealth of Independent Sates (CIS) is very important in the conditions of the aggravating economic crisis and it is necessary to ratify it as soon as possible, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov wrote on his page in the social network Facebook.
“It is very important now to ratify this treaty, so that it could came into force as soon as possible. It opens up very big possibilities for the Ukrainian economy, and in the conditions of the serious aggravation of the world’s financial and economic situation it is very important for us,” Azarov stressed.
According to the calculations of the government, the implementation of the CIS free trade zone agreement that was signed in St. Petersburg on October 18, will provide additional revenues to the state budget of Ukraine in 2012 worth $1.2 billion. Additional GDP growth is projected at the level of 2.2 percent ($ 3.8 billion).
Ukraine’s singing of the agreement to create a zone of free trade with the CIS countries is not a hindrance to the conclusion of a similar document with the EU, Nikolai Azarov told the Cabinet earlier. “There cannot be such a thing as too much of free trade, “ he said. “One freedom cannot interfere with another. Just as before we are full of determination to complete negotiations with the European partners.” He recalled that for Ukraine trade with Europe spells “a third of the trade turnover (just as with the CIS countries) and a market of 500 million consumers.”
The agreement on the free trade area with the CIS that Ukraine has signed brings the country closer to the Customs Union, Social Policies Minister Sergei Tigipko said last week. “It goes without saying the zone of free trade brings us far closer,” he said on the Ekho Moskvy radio station. “Ukraine has always been very emotional about the Customs Union, about how supra-state structures will be built. This loss of independence to a certain extent creates problems,” Tigipko said. Also, for politicians this would be a hard decision to make, because “if one takes at the public opinion, it is more in favour of Ukraine’s European integration than integration with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.” Earlier, Tigipko did not rule out the possibility Ukraine might agree to enter the Customs Union.
The agreement on a free trade zone with the CIS countries, which Ukraine has signed, was a result of a long-term joint work and became a long-expected result, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich told reporters on October 23. The document “does not provide any obstacles for Ukraine’s European integration,” he said. “All integration processes which we are solving now do not mean to make friends against somebody,” Yanukovich continued. The situation with the world economic crisis requires from Ukraine an “active position” on integration of its economy in the world’s one. These processes first of all are aimed at “removing barriers from the ways of goods, finances, services and labour force.”
“We must offer instruments to resist crisis phenomena, which exist in the world now, and to protect our economy,” he said. “There is no other way, and any politicisation of the process only harms it.” Ukraine’s foreign policy follows “pragmatic approach to solving economic questions, economisation of our international economic relations with many world centres of development,” and it “will always be aimed at protection of our national interests,” Yanukovich said.