Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov will participate in a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, on Wednesday. He will try to talk the participants in the meeting into European integration not standing in the way of cooperation between Ukraine and the Customs Union, Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported.
Constructive talks on the issue can be based on the regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Azarov said.
However, Kiev doubts the possibility to come to terms within the framework proposed by Azarov. “The WTO general agreements are framework ones, therefore, they do not rule out the possibility of contradictions and conflicts. For instance, the membership of Ukraine and Russia in the WTO did not hamper to introduce a scrapping tax for imported cars or put up customs barriers on the borders. Moreover, the WTO introduced a long and complicated appealing procedure that does not allow settling conflicting situation urgently,” expert of the Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Maxim Burgiy told Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.
Economic expert from the Kiev-based centre of political and conflict studies Aleksander Koshik noted that the countries entered the WTO at different moments of times and on different terms, “Russia gained the high level of customs protection for the domestic market, Ukraine that acceded in the WTO in 2008 hasted too much, therefore, the country agreed on unprofitable conditions proposed to the country. As a result our customs duties are about twice lower than those in Russia. No equal or common frameworks exist.” He noted that an association agreement being prepared for signing with the European Union in November envisages that about 20,000 European standards and technical regulations should be introduced in Ukraine. These standards will differ from those set in the Customs Union. “It is possible to contemplate only in theory that one free trade zone does not impede cooperation with another one. In fact, we will be losing some markets,” Koshik said.
Maxim Burgiy is convinced that Azarov will fail to come to agreement with representatives of the Customs Union states. In his view, it is possible to judge about the intentions of the participants in the meeting by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent statement, “All talks over Ukraine’s possibilities here and there are a lie. This is just a desire to mislead the people of the country.”
High-ranking official of the Russian Foreign Ministry Ilya Rubtsov has made a tougher statement, naming Ukraine’s intention to sign only several agreements of the Customs Union profitable for the country evasive. After that an official of the Russian Embassy was summoned in the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the Ukrainian authorities voiced their disappointment to him “over incompetent assessments of Russian representatives on the condition and prospects of the relations between Ukraine and Russia.” It is impossible to come to terms on anything at this background, the economist believes.