Ukraine hopes to sign free trade zone agreement with CIS states

PanARMENIAN.Net - The signing of an agreement on the creation of a free trade area within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) should be the main achievement of the next summit of the CIS heads of government, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said.

"First of all, I expect from the meeting in St. Petersburg the signing of an agreement on a free trade area within the CIS, taking into account the realities of the Customs Union, rather than an agreement on the gas price," he said in Kyiv on Thursday, while commenting on his upcoming visit to Russia.

Azarov said that 40% of Ukraine's trade was done with Russia and CIS countries.

"I expect that we will sign an agreement on a free trade area, which will come into force after ratification," he said.

As reported, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Kliuyev said in mid-September 2011 that Ukraine was ready to sign an agreement on the creation of a free trade area with the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), but the constant delay in its signing cast doubt on the ability of the CIS to create such an area. He recalled that the agreement was prepared for signature two months ago at a meeting of the CIS heads of government, but the signing had again failed to take place.

"First and foremost, the political will of all member countries is needed to sign any documents," he said.

He said after the 51st session of the CIS Economic Council in late September that it had been decided to complete remarks to the text of the agreement in a short time in order to submit it for the next meeting of the CIS Council of the Heads of Government, which is to be held in St. Petersburg on October 18.

Earlier, Ukrainian experts close to the negotiations described Russia's position as the main obstacle to the signing of an agreement on a free trade area within the CIS, Interfax reported.

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