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STRASBOURG, October 23. /TASS/. The European Parliament voted at a session in Strasbourg on Thursday to prolong a largely duty-free access to the EU market for Ukraine’s exports until the end of 2015.
"Given the current situation, a timely approval to prolong the regulation granting autonomous trade measures for Ukraine proves that the EU can act swiftly and decisively. This is also a proof of our political will and moral obligation," rapporteur Gabrielius Landsbergis said.
The unilateral trade preferences were introduced on April 23 for six months, and were to be followed by the mutual opening of markets in line with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement ratified by the parliaments in September.
However, at talks with Ukraine and Russia in mid-September, the EU agreed to postpone the establishment of a free EU-Ukraine trade zone until the 31 December 2015, as "part of a comprehensive peace process in Ukraine."
Therefore, the European Parliament was forced to extend the temporary trade measures.
According to the European Parliament, Ukraine’s exports to the EU in the first half of 2014 grew 25% (worth $587 million), while the exports to Russia declined 24.5% (worth $592 million).
The unilateral trade preferences remove 94.7% of EU tariffs charged on industrial goods imports from Ukraine. The EU abolished tariffs for over 80% of Ukraine’s farm produce exports.