European Parliament prolonged trade benefits for Ukraine
On Thursday, the European Parliament prolonged unilateral trade benefits to Ukraine for a year, till December 31, 2015. The benefits are to substitute for a free trade area that has yet to come into force. MEPs voted by 497 votes to 78, with 56 abstentions. The benefits were granted to Ukraine in April 2014. They provide for abolishing 98% of customs duties paid by Ukrainian exporters on the EU border. Then the European Union officials noted that this measure would stimulate economic growth of Ukraine, annually saving EUR 500 Ml for its producers and exporters. The benefits were first scheduled to expire on December 31. Then the economic part of the Association Agreement was to come into effect and make the benefits bilateral. However, in September, Ukraine and the EU agreed to delay the free trade area implementation until December 31, 2015 under Russia’s pressure.