On October 15 the regular meeting of the Committee for Economic Cooperation of the Russian-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Commission will take place in Kaluga. By that time Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Yurii Boiko and his counterpart Ihor Shuvalov have to work out decisions for problematic issues in the bilateral Ukrainian-Russian cooperation. This “order” was given to the officials following the meeting between the prime ministers of Ukraine and Russia Mykola Azarov and Dmitry Medvedev, as reported by the department for information and public relations at the Secretariat of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
The website of the government published the news that after October 15, as Azarov emphasized, Ukraine and Russia will set the new pace to their trade: “the limitations existing in the bilateral trade, especially concerning pipes, wheel pairs, coke, and automobiles will be analyzed.” “As a result, corresponding propositions aimed at settling these contradictions will be worked out,” as reported by the department for information and public relations at the Secretariat of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
What kind of agreements are concerned? Does it mean that on October 15 Ukraine might implement some of the provisions of the commercial law of the Customs Union members? Or will Russia temper justice with mercy? The answers to these questions can be found in the commentaries made by experts of The Day.
Viktor SUSLOV, Ukrainian representative in the Eurasian Economic Commission:
“Russia is worried that having entered the EU free trade area Ukraine will have no duties with the EU members. So, there is a risk that duty-free European products will ‘flood’ the Ukrainian market and through it the Russian market as well. Moscow is trying to nip it in the bud. The Russians are also concerned that Ukraine will adopt the EU’s standards and the standards existing in the Customs Union, in particular technical regulations, will not comply with the ones existing in Ukraine. Certainly it is worrying, since as soon as these standards start working it will be impossible to sell Russian produce in Ukraine.
“As for the agreement prospects of October 15 in Kaluga, specific information is needed; unfortunately I do not have it and I just cannot have it, as there are no even draft agreements. Everything is still being prepared. There is nothing to comment.”
Oleksandr ZHOLUD, senior analyst of the Center for International Studies:
“I think on October 15 we will see some compromise decision, some ‘via media.’ I mean, Ukraine really might adopt certain trading regulations valid in the Customs Union countries that will not contradict our partnership in WTO and integration into the EU. However, we will not be able to become a full-fledged member of the Customs Union and will not be able to reduce or raise rates with other Customs Union members, etc.
“Ukraine remains a very important commercial partner for Russia. We supply a lot of goods vital for their economy such as engines for aircraft construction and carriages and locomotives for machine building. They do not have adequate substitutes for these products. That is why I think that cooperation will continue. However, we have to understand that Russia has been on the way of import substitution for over 10 years alredy. They are actively developing their domestic enterprises whose produce will have to replace the goods that are imported now from Ukraine as well.”
Andrii NOVAK, head of the Committee of Economists of Ukraine:
“The Russian government is searching possibilities to soften those supposedly harsh consequences of the trade conflict they declared. On the political level they have to demonstrate, first of all to their electors, that the cooperation with Ukraine continues and that Russia sets the pitch of these relations: determines work rules for the Ukrainian producers, has the Ukrainian officials on the mat to present new conditions of entering the Russian market.
“Ukrainian producers need to settle the commercial conflict with Russia. In any case the Russian market buys almost the half of everything we produce. It is very difficult to quickly replace it with some other market.
“Certainly, the Russian business is putting pressure upon the Kremlin as well. Russian entrepreneurs are not interested in having conflicts with their Ukrainian partners as they result in significant losses. So, they will pressurize the government directly or indirectly to make them find milder forms of ‘making friends’ with Ukraine. The main argument is: Ukraine is not Georgia, first of all in terms of the amount of commercial relations.
“Therefore, I think we will see the Kremlin getting ‘milder.’ The relations between Ukraine and Russia will gradually warm up as it happened to Baltic countries when they declared their aspirations.”