In 2014, Ukraine and the EU signed a free trade agreement in the form of an Association Agreement which contains Title IV on trade and trade-related issues and which has been applied since January 1 2016. Article 29 of the Association Agreement provides for the progressive elimination of customs duties in accordance with the lists included in the agreement and envisages the possibility of accelerating and widening this elimination.

Following a request from Ukraine, the European Commission has decided to present a proposal introducing the following trade liberalization measures for products originating in Ukraine:

  • the temporary suspension of all pending customs duties under Title IV of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, which concerns three categories of products: (i) industrial products subject to phasing out duties by the end of 2022, (ii) fruits and vegetables subject to the entry price system, and (iii) agricultural products and processed agricultural products subject to tariff quotas;
  • the temporary non-imposition of anti-dumping duties on imports originating in Ukraine;
  • the temporary suspension of the application of the common import safeguard rules (in accordance with Regulation 2015/478) on products originating in Ukraine.

These measures should apply for a period of one year from the entry into force of the Regulation.

As Ukraine faces difficulties in accessing its Black Sea ports, the aim of these temporary measures is to maintain Ukraine’s trade position with the rest of the world. It also aims to foster trade relations between Ukraine and the EU by facilitating land logistics and increasing the degree of market liberalisation. It should be noted that Ukrainian exporters would still be required to prove the preferential origin of their product, as stated in the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, to benefit from the above measures.

The European Parliament and the Council will have to approve the proposal before this Regulation enters into force.