Talks on Ukraine's simultaneous membership of Customs Union, EU Free Trade Zone pointless - official

It would be pointless to continue talks on the prospects for Ukraine's simultaneous membership of the Free Trade Zone with the European Union and the Customs Union, First Deputy Russian Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

It would be pointless to continue talks on the prospects for Ukraine's simultaneous membership of the Free Trade Zone with the European Union and the Customs Union, First Deputy Russian Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

"I consider it pointless to continue talks on this issue," he told reporters.

"The Ukrainians want to find a format that they consider to be compatible. We have tried to find variants even with a transition period [where regulatory institutions like technical regulation and phytosanitary control are concerned]. Even if we were to find a compromise, and we're ready for this, they have no possibility according to the single customs tariff. They are absolutely bound [by the free trade zone agreement with the EU]," Shuvalov said.

These issues were discussed on Monday morning at a working group level in Moscow, and later they were talked over at an inter-ministerial level with the participation of Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev.

Later, in Gorki, the Ukrainian and Russian deputy prime ministers participated in meetings, and finally, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov had one-on-one talks, Shuvalov said.

During the negotiations, the parties arrived at the conclusion that "if a free trade agreement is signed between the EU and Ukraine, there are serious concerns that some commodity groups will pass onto Customs Union territory unchecked," Shuvalov said. Some goods from the EU could surface in the Customs Union unchecked, or goods could displace Ukrainian goods from its territory to the Customs Union.

In this situation, it might be necessary to take special measures such as adopting addendum six to the CIS free trade agreement. These methods range "from special customs control methods to a unified customs tariff on all goods from Ukraine," Shuvalov said.

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