Russia Seeks No Further Delay to EU-Ukraine Trade Pact, Malmstrom Says
Russia didn’t seek a delay to the planned start of a free-trade pact between Ukraine and the EU at trilateral talks on Monday, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.
Reuters quoted Malmstrom as saying that the three sides agreed in a joint statement after their talks in Brussels that the free-trade pact "will be provisionally applied” from the start of next year and the Russian side made no mention of delaying the trade deal.
“The reference that the (trade agreement) enter into force on 1 January 2016 was not contested by the Russian delegation," Malmstrom said, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said after his talks with EU and Ukraine officials on the EU-Ukraine free trade pact that he was "moderately optimistic", according to Reuters
Moscow has previously said it would curtail Ukraine's access to vital Russian markets if Kiev implements any part of the trade deal which is part of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.
The trade agreement is part of a package on closer political and economic ties agreed with Kiev last year despite strong opposition from Moscow. The first attempt to strike the deal, which failed in 2013, triggered events, including protests and the fall of the government, that led to Ukraine's current crisis.
The implementation of much of the free trade pact has been delayed until January to address fears raised by Moscow that the deal could adversely affect its economy. It was initially due to take full effect in November. Until recently Moscow said it would seek a new delay at least that long.
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