Ukraine-EU Hope to Reduce Barriers to Trade with New Association Agreement
Ukraine hopes to establish a customs visa-free regime with the European Union in 2021
A key element of the new talks is the way traders from each side are recognized.
“We agreed to start a conversation about mutual recognition of authorized economic operators. In Ukraine, we have already approved relevant legislation, and we will work jointly on its implementation for 12 months. So, at the end of next year, we could enter the stage of starting mutual recognition negotiations. Then we will go on a formalized ‘track,’ it will no longer be a political promise. If such formal negotiations begin, we can get a ‘customs visa-free regime’ in 2021,” Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka told reporters in Brussels following two days of work with experts from the European Commission, Ukrinform reported.
In practice, this could mean that Ukrainian customs would be integrated into the customs system of the European Union, which could allow, for example, a Ukrainian exporter that has the status of “authorized economic operator” to transport goods to Germany in the same way as it would transport goods from Kyiv to the Zhytomyr region. In this case, all the paperwork would be carried out in parallel with the course of the trading operation, which would avoid border delays.
“In practice, everything may start working in 2021. We have a lot of support from the European Union because everyone understands that this will mean lifting trade restrictions and significantly reducing all corruption risks. If the customs are integrated and work in a transparent manner, the risks of smuggling or other manipulation will decrease,” Kachka said.
Progress had also been made in the negotiations on an “industrial visa-free regime,” the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA), Kachka said.
The European side agreed to send a preparatory assessment mission to Ukraine in the first quarter of next year. It will be one of the last stages of preparation for a full-fledged assessment mission that will go beyond analyzing the content of national legislation and move on to examining the certification system for Ukrainian traders.
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