Yesterday, on July 19, in Brussels, the representatives of Ukraine and the European Commission initialed the text of the agreement on free trade area (FTA) between Ukraine and the EU, which is an integral part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the economy development and trade minister of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced.

He said that the English version of the text of the agreement was initialed approximately at 7 p.m. Kyiv time.

"The master English version was initialed. The further technical work will include its translation into the Ukrainian language and the languages of the EU member states," Poroshenko said.

He expressed the hope that the Ukrainian version of the agreement would be ready and submitted soon for consideration to the Verkhovna Rada and the government.

"I think that soon we will be able to submit the text of the agreement to the interested parties. First, it will be the Parliament and the government. Starting from September, we will do our best to make this agreement public," the minister said.

He also expressed satisfaction with initialing the document even earlier that it was expected thanks to the collaboration with the European party.

"I am glad with the success of our team, because in the beginning the technical process promised to take a long time and be completed by the end of the year. Then the whole process was supposed to be completed in September-October after the vacations (of European officials. - Ed.). And only our well-organized work, including the work of our Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the mission in Brussels made it possible to speed up the results," Poroshenko said.

Moreover, he noted that now the full text of the Association Agreement, including the provisions for the free trade area, is initialed.

ForUm has asked economists and political analysts what this event means for Ukraine and its European integration.

Oleksandr Plotnikov, MP from the Party of Regions faction, chairman of the VR committee on economic policy:

- The initialing of the text on FTA proves the document has been understood by both Ukraine and the EU. It is a very important step proving that the parties do not have disagreements. It also proves that our country sticks to the course of European integration, and despite certain arguments, the process keeps going.

There have been said a lot about the advantages of such cooperation. As for the risk, well, they always exist, but we cannot retire into our shell and exist separately from the world. Taking into account that we've chosen the WTO membership, the initialing of this agreement will bring more positive results.

Oleksandr Paliy, international expert:

- This document has been developed for four years and has some serious advantages for Ukraine, namely gradual increase Ukraine's quotas on the European market.

For Ukraine's economy it is very important document. We've had our share of negative moments due to the smuggling from Europe. Finally we will get some benefits from the trade.

This agreement finds support among the majority of Ukrainian businesses, especially the export-oriented ones, as they will expand their presence on the European market.

Kost Bondarenko, chairman of the management board of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:

- The initialing only means that the technical part of the process is finished and that the sides have agreed on the document's look. Now the document must be translated and then signed by the parties. Most probably, it will happen at the next Ukraine-EU summit.

As for the European integration, the process continues despite the arguments of certain politicians.

Oleksandr Holub, MP from the Communist party faction:

- It is not even an event. It does not settle the economic and political relations between Ukraine and the EU.

As for the economy, it is obvious that the EU countries remain closed for us, while their producers easily enter our market and enervate our domestic producers. This agreement is being used in Ukraine for political motives and has no real value.

Volodymyr Kornilov, director of the Ukrainian branch of CIS Institute:

- This is not a part of the European integration and there are certain risks. Moreover, the agreement itself is far from being signed. There are no guarantees the document will be signed and ratified as the final result. Hence, there is no point to speak about significance of the initialing.

Even EU officials confirm that the initialing is a simple technical process, and nobody is making career on this event.

If the given agreement is finally put into operation, according to the Ukrainian and Russian scientists and experts, the growth and development of our country will deteriorate. Ukraine's GDP will stop growing and the budget will not get benefits from export. The result will be negative.


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