Ukraine's Yanukovych signs CIS trade agreement

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KIEV. August 10. KAZINFORM Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed a law on Thursday ratifying a free trade zone agreement with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), his press service reported.

Ukraine's Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed the law on July 30.

The Economic Council of the CIS states approved in April 2011 a draft agreement on a free trade zone that would move the group of most of the former Soviet republics further toward liberalized trade. The agreement was signed in October 2011, and Ukraine became only the third country which ratified it after Russia and Belarus.

The CIS includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, while Ukraine and Turkmenistan are unofficial member states.

The document was originally drafted by Russia's Economic Development Ministry in 2008. The agreement stipulates cutting import duties to a minimum, and suggests that export duties be harmonized and eventually abolished.

Ukraine, whose trade with the CIS countries amounts to about $140 billion a year, also intends to go ahead with its plans to create a free trade zone with the European Union. EU-Ukrainian relations were damaged by last year's jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko over a gas deal with Russia, which the government deemed to be harming Ukraine's economy, RIA Novosti reports.

 

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