Brussels, 18 May 2015
Joint Operational Conclusions by the European Commission, the Russian Federation and Ukraine
In the framework of the trilateral talks and on the basis of our joint statement of 12 September 2014 and taking into account the 12 February 2015 Declaration in support of the "Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements", the EU Trade Commissioner Malmström, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Klimkin and Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Ulyukayev –the Parties– have met today to continue talks on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement/Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA), which will be provisionally applied as of 1 January 2016. This was the third meeting at ministerial level, after the two previous meetings held on 11 July and 12 September 2014.
The Parties have reiterated their commitment towards the development of trade in the region as a means to achieve inclusive economic growth.
With a view to address the concerns raised by Russia with regard to the DCFTA, the Parties have taken stock of the intense work carried out at technical level, including during the meeting of 20-21 April 2015 held in Brussels.
While some of the issues can be addressed in the context of the existing flexibilities available in the DCFTA, and others in the context of the current bilateral or trilateral and plurilateral cooperation frameworks, the Parties have agreed to intensify their efforts and task their experts to achieve practical solutions to the concerns raised by Russia, in particular in the following areas:
– Maintain and further improve customs data exchange and electronic verification of origins by means of strengthened customs cooperation and dialogue towards the convergence of customs information systems;
– Commitment to tackle additional issues (e.g. fight against fraud);
– Commitment by Ukraine and Russia to consider initiation of a revision of the rules of origin of the CIS FTA;
– Readiness by the EU to strengthen the informal dialogue on customs cooperation with Russia and, where requested, provide EU expert advice and technical support to the Parties;
Technical barriers to trade (TBT)
– Creation of a dedicated working group to further develop the harmonisation process with a view to minimising the impact of the regulatory changes, recognising the importance of convergence of technical regulations and standards as a tool to facilitate trade flows. The first meeting of the working group will take place within two weeks of the issuance of this statement;
– Consider the extension of the transition periods for the regulatory alignment when and if appropriate for specific sectors or products, by taking advantage of the flexibilities built in the DCFTA;
Sanitary and Phytosanitary issues (SPS)
– Consider the preparation of an updated arrangement between Ukraine and Russia on bilateral acceptance of veterinary certificates;
The experts were tasked to meet on the basis of the above and to report to ministers no later than July.