'Kiev has endured trade imbalances with most of its European partners, according to the latest data from the country’s statistics agency. Ukraine is still struggling to make its domestic products meet the rigorous EU standards.
In the first quarter of the current year alone, the overall trade deficit with the European Union totaled $535 million. Europe’s number one economy, Germany, contributed most to the ever-widening gap.
Ukraine signed the controversial association agreement with the EU five years ago, shortly after the Maidan revolution brought down the government of then-president Viktor Yanukovich, who had rejected the association deal. The political part of the agreement has been in effect since September 2014 and the economic part has de-facto operated from January 2016.
However, the country’s producers had to face the problem of quotas limiting the volumes of goods exported to EU countries. Ukraine may supply only 36 sorts of products duty-free and in limited quantities. Thus, the deal allowed the country to sell only an additional 3,000 tons of honey, 500 tons of wine, 650,000 tons of corn/corn flour, 7,800 tons of barley and flour, 4,000 tons of oats and some other products. After exhausting the quota, Ukrainian manufacturers may supply their goods to Europe with no trade benefits. The quotas are typically filled by the beginning of each fiscal year.
Earlier this week, Ukraine’s former economy minister Viktor Suslov accused EU officials of imposing “predetermined unfavorable terms” over Kiev, when signing the deal. The former state official highlighted the inability of Ukraine to compete with the EU member states when it comes to economics. Thus, the country accepted the terms of the agreement, which brought Kiev only quotas and restrictions, while opening the Ukrainian market to a limitless stream of European goods.'
Read more: Ukraine blames EU for bad integration pact, after ousting president who refused to seal the deal
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