The eighth meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Committee in Trade Configuration (ACTC) took place. The Ukrainian delegation was headed by Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine and Trade Representative of Ukraine, and the EU delegation was represented by Léon Delvaux, Acting Director of the Directorate-General for Trade responsible for Neighbouring Countries, Industry, Goods, Regulatory Cooperation and Public Procurement.
The main results of the meeting were as follows:
- the Parties adopted joint Decisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Committee in Trade Configuration on a positive assessment of the implementation of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Annex XXI-A to Chapter 8 of the Association Agreement between Ukraine, on the one hand, and the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, on the other hand;
- Discussed the progress in the implementation by the parties of the Priority Action Plan for the Implementation of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area for 2023-2024;
- Determined further steps towards the conclusion of the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA);
- Summarized the results of the meetings of the Subcommittees on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Management, Geographical Indications, Trade and Sustainable Development;
- Discussed sensitive issues of bilateral trade relations.
During the meeting, the parties addressed a range of issues related to the implementation of Title IV “Trade and Trade-related Matters” of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The parties noted that the Updated Priority Action Plan for Enhanced Implementation of the Free Trade Agreement for 2023-2024 is an ideal example of how the trade part of the Association Agreement allows for simultaneously creating more opportunities for mutual trade and ensuring full compliance with the requirements for Ukraine’s membership in the EU.
The Ukrainian side also emphasised that trade liberalisation is the basis of economic integration between Ukraine and the EU. The EU’s decision to completely eliminate tariffs on Ukrainian goods, in addition to the liberalisation envisaged by the Association Agreement, sent a political signal to Ukrainian business. In 2022, the share of trade in goods with the EU was 55.2% of Ukraine’s total trade. In January-September 2023, it was 56.0%, while in the same period in 2022 it was 54.6%.
Special attention was paid to the issue of Polish carriers blocking checkpoints near the Ukrainian-Polish border. The Ukrainian side reiterated that transit through the EU was currently the key route for exporting Ukrainian products to international markets, and the actions of Polish carriers could jeopardise the sustainability of international supplies of Ukrainian grain and other goods to regions and countries in need of food. This is detrimental to the interests of both countries and poses risks to the functioning of the Solidarity Lanes Initiative. In particular, this issue was also raised the day before during the seventh meeting of the EU-Ukraine Customs Cooperation Subcommittee of the ACTC on 28 November 2023.