Putin: Russia to be Forced to Cancel Preferences for Imports from Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the consultations in the format of the Customs Union - Ukraine - European Union. In his speech, the Russian leader explained the position of Moscow in point of Kiev's intentions to continue the course of European integration and adopt European customs standards.
"Of course, Russia has always respected the sovereign choice of any nation to organize its political life and make all sorts of unions, both military and economic, and we will continue to do so. However, we hope that this will not be detrimental to other participants in international communication, and not at our cost," said V. Putin at the beginning of his speech.
Commenting on Ukraine's desire to adapt to European standards, Russian leader emphasized that the procedure would cost Ukraine billions of dollars. Especially in that difficult economic situation which is observed in Ukraine now.
"The rejection of common Community of Independent States (CIS) technical norms and adaptation to EU standards will cost Ukraine billions of euros. It will lose its partnerships with the Customs Union states in industry, finance, agriculture and transportation. As soon as Ukraine introduces zero import duty on goods from the EU, a step envisaged right after the ratification of the agreement, that would apply to 98 percent of all the goods, there will obviously be a sharp increase in the supply of European goods to the Ukrainian market. We understand our European partners; they have already developed the Ukrainian market rather well, and would like to get hold of whatever is left and squeeze out everyone else. Besides, less competitive Ukrainian production will also be squeezed out from its own market," noted the Russian president.
Putin also spoke about the protective measures which Moscow would have to take to protect the Russian economy.
"Russia cannot lie by in this situation. I would like to stress that we would be forced to reciprocate, to protect our market. In full compliance with the provisions of the CIS agreement on the free trade zone and with WTO norms, I would like to stress this, we would be forced to cancel preferences for imports from Ukraine. I would like to note here that we do not intend to discriminate against anyone, and we will not do it. I simply wanted to make this perfectly clear. We will simply be forced to introduce a regular trade regime for Ukraine. The same one that is applied to trade between Russia and the European Union. It is called the most-favoured nation treatment. Sounds good and it is exactly to the point. However, there'll be no preferences that are now envisaged by the CIS free trade zone regulations," announced the Russian president.
Commenting on the armed conflict in Ukraine between the current government and the militiamen of the South-East, Vladimir Putin claimed once again that Russia stood out for the early settlement of this situation through peaceful means.
"I would like to stress that we are ready to consider any cooperation scenarios that are based on the consideration of mutual interests. We are ready to have an exchange on the critical situation that has developed in Ukraine, which, I am certain, cannot be resolved through further escalation of force without due consideration of the vital interests of the country's southeast regions and without a peaceful dialogue with these regions' representatives," briefed the Russian leader.