Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia Ink Association Deals with EU, Create Free-Trade Zone
BRUSSELS, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the European Union signed association agreements that foresee the creation of a free-trade zone with the EU during a summit in Brussels Friday.
Kiev has only signed the economic part of its association agreement. Following the political upheaval in Ukraine, the EU's heads of state and governments decided to split the association agreement into two parts. The political part of the agreement was signed on March 21.
The economic section of the agreement stipulates the free-trade zone is to go into effect in the fall, after it is ratified by the Ukrainian parliament. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry hopes the legislature will approve the EU association agreement in July.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Moscow had no objection to Ukraine's association agreement with the EU and was not planning to impose any sanctions on Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin said, for Ukraine, the association with the EU will be an ordeal, as its goods are unlikely to be competitive on the Russian market.
In response to Georgia's EU integration bid, earlier in June Putin promised the European Commission that Moscow does not intend any negative action against the country if it opts for association with the EU.
As for Moldova, Russian officials warned the deal with the EU might mean losing the CIS market and would be a blow to the two countries' bilateral relations.
Russia has free-trade agreements with Ukraine and Moldova in the CIS framework while Georgia, which is not a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, is still party to several CIS trade agreements.
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