Ukraine has strategic plan of integration into the European Union, which is embedded in the Law on Domestic and Foreign Policy, President Viktor Yanukovych said during his joint press conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
"The world does not stand still however, and changes occurring in our neighborhood, I mean the creation of a Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, force us to reckon with it, and search for mechanisms of cooperation with this Customs Union," Viktor Yanukovych said.
The President stressed that the relevant work is going on and expressed confidence that it not only "will not prevent the creation of free trade area between Ukraine and the EU, but will contribute to integration processes in the Euro-Asian space.
"In the near future, Russia and Kazakhstan will join the World Trade Organization, and the principles of relations between our countries both at bilateral level and at the level of cooperation between Ukraine and the Customs Union will be developing on the principles of the WTO," the President said.
In turn, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, making comments on possible cooperation between Ukraine and the Customs Union and our desire to integrate with the EU, noted that "Ukraine is free to join any trade agreements meeting its economic interests and priorities. At the same time, the conclusion of such agreements must not prevent Ukraine from carrying out its obligations before the WTO and future obligations under the deep and comprehensive free trade area.
Also, the conclusion of such agreements must not prevent the completion of negotiations on the deep and comprehensive FTA.”
The European Commission President said that it would be more difficult for Ukraine to conduct negotiations on the deep and comprehensive FTA with the EU, if it joined the Customs Union of the countries that have no preferential trade agreements with the EU, as within the Customs Union a common tariff is applied towards other partners.
At the same time, Jose Manuel Barroso stressed that certain mechanisms of cooperation between Ukraine and the Customs Union are possible.
"Cooperation with the Customs Union is possible. However, it is impossible to integrate into the Customs Union and have deep and comprehensive free trade area simultaneously," he said.
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