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26.08.2014 22:42 Videos

Video: Customs Union-Ukraine-EU summit held in Minsk

The Ukraine crisis was discussed at a multilateral summit that was held at the Independence Palace in Minsk on Tuesday.
Participants included the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, European Commission Vice President Gunther Oettinger and Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht.
The Russian economy may lose at least 100 billion rubles ($2.8 billion) because of the implementation of the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Minsk on Tuesday while meeting with the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine and high-ranking EU officials.
Mr. Putin expressed an interest in significantly increasing trade between Russia and the EU but questioned the possibility of such an increase if the association agreement took effect. Russia has repeatedly emphasized that trade and investment cooperation in the Eurasian region will inevitably decline if Kyiv subscribes to all the terms of the agreement, he said.
If Ukraine abolishes its import duties on goods from EU countries, the import of 98 percent of the goods coming from the EU will increase considerably, Mr. Putin warned.
At the most conservative estimate, the Russian economy may lose 100 billion rubles as a result of such changes, which will affect whole segments of the industrial sector, the agricultural sector and farm produce processing industry, Mr. Putin said, adding that Belarus and Kazakhstan would also sustain losses.
Mr. Putin predicted that the less competitive Ukrainian goods would have to be diverted to the markets of the Customs Union countries, especially Russia, if the deal was enacted. He warned about the re-export of banned European goods into Russia under the guise of Ukrainian products. Russia cannot be passive in this situation, Mr. Putin said.
“The fate of the world and Europe is being decided here,” said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“The objective of my visit to Minsk is to stop the bloodshed and start the process of looking for a political compromise,” he said.
Mr. Poroshenkp called on all the participants to look once again into his peace plan and accept it.
He suggested establishing a “monitoring group” to assess the potential negative impact of the ratification of the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. After this damage is assessed, possible compensation or protection mechanisms should be discussed, he said.
Mr. Poroshenko suggested that Ukraine and the Customs Union should hold talks to create a system of the mutual recognition of phytosanitary certificates and laboratory reports.
Trade between Ukraine and the Customs Union has fallen by 30 percent, which is bad for both sides, Mr. Poroshenko said. He warned against the further deterioration of the conditions for mutual trade.
Mr. Poroshenko invited representatives of the European Union and the Customs Union to visit Ukraine this fall to take part in a conference on the establishment of a "donor fund" for the revival of the war-stricken Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.




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