EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin and Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev will take part in the consultations. The talks will focus on the impact the free trade area between Ukraine and the EU will have on Russia’s economy and its relations with Ukraine and European countries.The EU hopes the meeting will be productive and will produce mutually acceptable results, Gucht’s press service said.
The spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Thursday, July 10, that a permanent trilateral consultative group might be created to discuss trade and economic aspects of the Association Agreement implementation process.
A source in EU institutions told ITAR-TASS that no practical measures would be adopted at the Friday meeting. Its purpose is to create a forum for discussion, determine the format of consultations and the range of issues to be addressed, outline the sides’ concerns, hear their questions and provide answers.
Klimkin said Ukraine was “set for a construction discussion” and stressed that Kiev was not delaying the ratification of the Association Agreement.
Russia fears that an uncontrolled flow of goods will come to its market from Europe through Ukraine with no customs duties paid since Moscow has a free trade regime with KIev within the Commonwealth of Independent States.
To address this and other issues, the sides agreed to begin trilateral consultations.
“The ministerial meeting is expected to lay the groundwork for regular consultations on issues related to the functioning of the free trade area between Ukraine and the EU and its possible impact on trade relations between Ukraine and Russia,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yevgen Perebyinis said.