Jocelyn Guitton, the trade affairs manager of the EU Delegation to Ukraine does not believe that the potential introduction of a Russian embargo on Ukrainian agricultural products beginning January 1, 2016 will have a dramatic impact on the Ukrainian economy. This is because agricultural exports to Russia account for only 3% of total Ukrainian trade.
In the New Year, the provisional application of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union will come into force, including the economic provisions for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). Speaking live on Hromadske TV, Guitton said ongoing discussions between the EU, Ukraine and Russia concern only the pace of the DCFTA implementation, and not the content of the agreement.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is trying to break into the EU market, particularly in the agricultural sector. Guitton reminded viewers that Ukraine cannot currently export dairy and certain meat products to the EU that do not yet meet the joint EU safety requirements. Relevant Ukrainian institutions must provide the EU with information to enable the assessment of these industries.
Despite the unilateral opening of EU markets for Ukrainian products since April of last year, in 2015 Ukrainian exports to the EU have fallen by a third. Guitton explains this is because of hryvnia devaluation, falling world commodity prices, the war in Donbas, and the introduction, in late 2014, of restrictions on foreign exchange transactions. Guitton adds, however, that export growth should be expected in the medium term.