World Economy

Ukraine Insists on EU Free Trade Pact

Ukraine Insists on EU Free Trade PactUkraine Insists on EU Free Trade Pact

Ukraine’s PM has said Kiev will implement a free trade deal with the EU on January 1 and fight corruption. Merkel encouraged reform and said Ukraine’s “Association Agreement” with the EU is not targeted against Russia.

Ukraine will move ahead with a free trade pact with the EU on January 1, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday, DW reported.

“Russia does not have a veto over our trade with the EU,” he said.

Russia opposes the Association Agreement, which Ukraine signed with the EU in March 2014, shortly after the Euromaidan protests ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych after he refused to sign it. The economic portion of the agreement was left to be signed by the EU and Ukraine in June 2014.

Merkel, whose Germany has sought to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and Kyiv, reiterated that the agreement was not targeted against Russia.

“I want to say one more time that the Association Agreement which includes a free trade treaty is not directed against anyone,” Merkel said at a press conference with Yatsenyuk.

It constituted an “opening of the Ukrainian market in the direction of Europe” but was not directed at Russia, Merkel said, adding that she had sought to encourage Russia to restore Ukraine’s status within the free trade zone of the Commonwealth of Independent States.