The European Commission adopted a proposal for temporarily removing customs duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU.
Following the recent unprecedented events in the country and the security, political and economic challenges faced by Ukraine, on 6 March 2014 the European Council stated its support to help stabilize Ukraine's economy with a package of measures. One of these was the granting of autonomous trade preferences.
The idea is not to await the entry into force of the Association Agreement's (AA) provisions on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), but to advance the implementation of its tariffs section by means of autonomous trade preferences and to start unilaterally the reduction or elimination of the EU's customs duties on goods originating in Ukraine. However, the preferences are not a substitute for the DCFTA and will be granted for a limited period only: until 1 November 2014. It is expected that the DCFTA between the EU and Ukraine will be signed and provisionally apply before the 1st November 2014 in which case the unilateral system of autonomous trade preferences ends.
Once adopted by the EU, this unilateral measure will allow Ukrainian exporters to benefit from preferential access to the EU market in full line with the schedule of concessions negotiated under the DCFTA. Ukraine will not have to provide extra access to EU exports in return. The temporary elimination of the customs duties will be total or partial, depending on the sector.
In relation to agricultural products the EU has taken important but more limited action to open up its market to Ukrainian agriculture. This will ensure the European agricultural sector is not harmed by this unilateral trade action.In concrete terms, the EU will grant immediate and unlimited preferences to 82.2% of Ukraine's exports. For the other products (cereals, pork, beef, poultry and a handful of additional products) a partial liberalisation is achieved by the granting of duty-free tariff rate quotas (TRQs), which limit the amount of certain goods able to benefit from the trade preference.
Tuesday March 11, 2014/ EC/ European Union.