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KIEV, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine will obtain considerable economic benefits from concluding an association agreement with the European Union and the creation of a free trade zone with the EU, but at the same time the advantages from a free trade zone with the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan) are quite substantial for Ukraine, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said at the opening of the 4th International Black Sea Economic Forum in Yalta, Ukraine’s Crimea, on Thursday.
“Economic benefits for Ukraine from the creation of a free trade zone with the European Union are obvious in the future,” he said, recalling that after the signing of the agreement the EU cancels the imports duties on about 97% of commodities. As for Ukraine, he added that the country retains some level of protection which will be in effect during a five-year transitional period.
As for the attitude of the Ukrainian trade partners in the CIS states and the Customs Union to the prospect of signing a Ukrainian-EU association agreement, he acknowledged that they have some concerns over the factor that “after the opening of our borders the flow of European goods will go on the unprotected market of the Customs Union.” “We and the Customs Union states also have in effect the treaty over free trade zone and starting from 2015 we will actually pass to the regime without any withdrawals and limitations,” he added. “Moreover, we will receive an opportunity to have access to pipeline, gas transportation and oil pipeline system according to the treaty over free trade zone. Few are aware of this, but this provision is included in the treaty. This is a very important condition, which will finally permit us to receive gas from Central Asia as well as other energy carriers, using the pipeline system of the Customs Union states,” Azarov noted.
About 200 representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Georgia and other countries that are participating in the forum that opened on Thursday are discussing the possibilities of economic integration in the Black Sea region, the projects in development of transport, tourism and trade.