Ukraine Starts Free Trade With EFTA
Kyiv, June 1, 2012. The free trade agreement between the EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and Ukraine comes into force today. Signed in 2010, the document regulates trade in goods and services between the signees, competition in the market, government procurement, investment, and intellectual property rights protection.
The agreement lists a set of objectives the parties mean to meet in the future – liberalization of trade in goods and services, removing barriers in trade, increase of investment opportunities, promotion of competition in their economies, as well as public tender liberalization.
According to the document, the parties abolish all customs duties on imports of a wide range of products. Moreover, “no new customs duties on imports shall be introduced”, reads the text. The agreement also provides for the gradual abolition of export duties. The document includes anti-dumping provisions.
Concerning trade in services, each party takes upon itself the responsibility to ensure all measures of general application affecting trade in services to be “administered in a reasonable, objective and impartial manner”. As for investment, the new document guarantees the signees would avoid the imposition of restrictions to safeguard the balance of payments.
In 2011 the bilateral merchandise trade between Ukraine and the EFTA countries reached USD 1.2 billion, reports EFTA official Web site. Over the last decade the annual growth of this indicator amounted to 19 percent. Furthermore, Ukraine is listed as the second most important export destination in Europe outside the EU for the EFTA traders.
Ukraine mostly exports inorganic chemicals to the EFTA countries. The prevailing EFTA export to Ukraine is fish and pharmaceutical goods.
In February 2012, Martin Zbinden, Head of Free Trade Agreement at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, suggested that the trade volume between the parties may double due to the new agreement, reports USPP. “It is important to educate entrepreneurs regarding the new export opportunities [that open following the free trade agreement]”, he said commenting on the approaching introduction of the free trade between Ukraine and EFTA States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
So far Ukraine established free trade with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, informs AUCC.org.ua.