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EU Foreign Ministers Endorse Trade Measures For Ukraine

Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser (file photo)
Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser (file photo)

BRUSSELS -- European Union foreign ministers have unanimously backed a decision to grant Ukraine temporary trade preference for some agricultural and industrial products, following a similar decision by the European Parliament earlier this month.

Ministers from all 28 EU states adopted the decision on July 17.

Representatives of the European Parliament and the European Council are to sign the agreement during a plenary session of the parliament in Strasbourg in September, and the measures will apply for three years from the end of September.

“With today's decision, we are allowing more Ukrainian products to be exported to the EU. It is our duty to support Ukraine and strengthen our economic and political ties, also in the face of the ongoing conflict on its soil," said Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, whose country currently holds the European Council presidency.

Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014, and a war between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists who hold parts of eastern Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.

The trade proposal was made by the European Commission to improve access for Ukrainian exporters to EU markets following the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) that provisionally entered into force at the start of 2016.

Ukraine's preferential trade treatment includes annual quotas for tariff-free imports on agricultural products such as honey, wheat, corn, and barley as well as industrial goods like copper, aluminum, and fertilizers.

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