Russia will resort to “protective measures” if EU’s deep and comprehensive free trade agreements (DCFTA) with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine negatively affect on free trade regime within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said on June 25.
Russian news agencies reported quoting Lavrov that Moscow is not only ready, but also calls for consultations to clarify potential effects of these treaties on Russia’s trade with the countries concerned.
“As soon as these agreements, which our partners within CIS free trade zone are going to sign with the EU, take effect and we understand that it is reflected negatively on functioning of CIS free trade zone on the conditions based on which we join WTO, of course we will be taking protective measures in complete accordance to the WTO rules,” Lavrov said.
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EU will sign Association Agreements, also including DCFTA, with Georgia and Moldova on June 27 in Brussels. On the same day the EU will complete the signature process with Ukraine on those economic parts of the agreement, which were left after the political ones were signed in March.
“These Agreements are for something, not against anyone,” President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said on June 25.
Barroso said that when he spoke by phone with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on June 13, he reiterated EU's offer to engage in trilateral consultations on the political level about the implementation of DCFTA with Ukraine. He said that such consultations are expected to take place on July 11 in Brussels at the ministerial level.
It was announced this week that Georgian and Russian experts plan technical level consultations to exchange views about possible effect of Georgia’s DCFTA with the EU on its trade with Russia.
Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said on June 26, that his next meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin in Prague is scheduled in the first half of July and that meeting will be preceded by talks between experts on the trade issues.
After the agreement is signed on June 27, the Georgian Parliament is then expected to ratify it in July, according to parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili.
Although it may take several years before all EU-member states ratify the agreement, the treaty envisages provisional application and, according to the EU, its impact may be expected to a large extent even before EU members complete ratification process.
Speaking in Brussels on June 25, President of the European Commission said that Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have “huge strategic importance.”
“I do not hesitate to call these agreements historic. Historic for those countries, that's their historic objective, but also historic for Europe, what this can mean for the whole of Europe,” Barroso said.