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Russia-Ukraine-EU consultations on Kiev’s association deal kick off in Brussels

July 03, 2014, 21:41 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

This is a preparatory technical discussion to get ready for a three-party ministerial meeting in Brussels scheduled for July 11

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BRUSSELS, July 03./ITAR-TASS/. Three-party expert consultations of Russia, Ukraine and the European Union on implementation of the association agreement and free trade between Kiev and the EU kicked off on Thursday in Brussels, an EU source said.

The source said experts of economic departments of Russia and Ukraine and deputy head of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade, Peter Balas, are taking part.

This is a preparatory technical discussion to get ready for a three-party ministerial meeting in Brussels scheduled for July 11, the source said, adding that the consultations are designed to explain to all parties the benefits of the free trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine for Russian partners.

He said the EU is trying to explain to the Russian authorities that the association deal will not have any negative effect.

The missions of Russia and Ukraine to the EU have confirmed that consultations are being held but have not provided details. At the meeting, Moscow and Kiev are represented by heads of departments of the Russian and Ukrainian Economic Development ministries.

Russian Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev, Ukrainian parliament-appointed economics minister Pavlo Sheremeta and European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will take part in the three-party ministerial meeting in Brussels next week.

The Russian side believes that if the current regime of free trade with Ukraine is preserved, unlimited re-exports of European products may start via Ukraine after the Ukrainian market is opened to the EU. The situation may complicate conditions for Russian manufacturers.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the final economic part of the agreement on association and free trade area between Ukraine and the EU on the sidelines of an EU summit held in Brussels on June 27.

The previous president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, suspended the signing of the association deal with the EU in November 2013 to study the agreement more thoroughly. His decision triggered anti-government protests that often turned violent and eventually resulted in a coup in February. New people were brought to power amid ultranationalist rhetoric that could be heard from representatives of the junta.

Instability embraced Ukraine after the coup. Yanukovych had to leave Ukraine for Russia for security reasons in late February.

Western-leaning billionaire businessman and politician Poroshenko won the May 25 early presidential election in Ukraine set by the provisional Kiev authorities propelled to power during the February coup. He was sworn in and took office June 7.

Poroshenko, dubbed “the chocolate king” because his structures control Ukraine’s Roshen confectionery manufacturer, had funded anti-government protests that led to February's coup.

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