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Situation with Ukrainian exports to Russia becomes clearer

August 16, 2013, 11:18 UTC+3

Trade problems with the Customs Union are very painful for Ukrainian economy

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The situation with the blockade of Ukrainian exports to Russia became a little clearer on Thursday, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. As was explained in Moscow, the problems were not related to politics, but bureaucratic difficulties that could have been evaded if Ukraine had been a member of the Customs Union. Ukraine decided to prevent the situation from worsening interstate relations.

Ukrainian Premier Nikolai Azarov at the government meeting noted that the aim was to sign an agreement during the EU summit in November on the association between Ukraine and the EU with the formation of a free trade zone. He gave instructions to completely prepare all the corresponding documents in a week. But at the same time, he instructed the Economics and Trade Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to speed up the preparation of specific proposals for Ukraine to join some agreements and technical regulations of the Customs Union. "The Eurasian vector of our foreign policy must not be weakened, and the markets for our goods and services in the Customs Union countries must not be lost," the Ukrainian prime minister stressed.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites the head of the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a Supreme Rada member from the ruling Party of Regions, Anatoly Kinakh, as saying that cooperation with the Customs Union is very important for Ukraine. The Customs Union countries account for 40% of Ukraine's foreign trade - about $70 billion a year. As for the Russian Federation, it accounts for about 34% of Ukraine's exports - up to $50 billion a year.

The politician admits that the trade problems with the Customs Union are very painful for Ukrainian economy. Kinakh, commenting on the information given by the Ukrainian Federation of Employers on Wednesday, said "I cannot say that the export is halted. It is not quite so. Though there are problems.”

On Thursday, activists of the public movement Vidsich launched a campaign to boycott Russian goods in Ukraine. The appeal actively spread through the internet said "Russia has declared a total economic war on Ukraine. All Ukrainian goods are banned from being exported to Russia. Is it true or just intimidating? However, we are sick and tired of the meat, cheese, chocolate and other trade wars of the Kremlin with Ukraine. So, we propose that all who are not indifferent should join the boycott on Russian goods."

Only the Ukrainian Communist Party has drawn an expected conclusion from the situation about the expediency to give up the Eurointegration aspirations. The communists' leader Pyotr Simonenko said that organizational work started to hold a nationwide referendum in Ukraine. "We will submit two questions to the referendum - who support Ukraine's joining to the Customs Union and who favour Ukraine's joining to the European Union." According to sociologists, until recently the answers have depended on formulations of the questions, but the numbers of votes have been almost equal.

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