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SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

13.08.2014

Risks for Russian-Ukrainian economic relations (by Ambassador Yakovenko)

There has been much speculation lately about the reasons for Russia’s negative stance on the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. Much has been said about politics, but not enough on the economics of the matter. Still, Russia sees the implementation of the Agreement as a source of considerable, tangible and immediate risks to its market, something that should be discussed by all sides involved, instead of rush into implementation. Listed below are some of the specific possible effects, covering areas of tariffs, customs control, technical regulations, sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
The Agreement stipulates that 80% of export tariffs are to be cancelled or lowered right away and further 15% - within 5 years. As a result we expect the Ukrainian market to be saturated with European goods and components quite quickly, which can lead to Russian goods being displaced from Ukraine and EU. At the same time some Ukrainian goods, including metal products, glass, certain types of equipment, farm produce, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, etc., can be forced out to the Eurasian Economic Union (Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, EEU). There is also a risk that Ukraine will be used as a low-cost transit channel for European goods, for example used cars or rolling stock, bypassing the agreed tariff schedule.
Another area of concern is customs control. According to the Agreement, Ukraine has to adopt some of the EU customs control standards, procedures, software, etc. That can easily ruin the co-ordination between Russian and Ukrainian customs authorities (for example, disrupt the systems of advance data exchange, of mutual customs checks recognition), decrease their efficiency for an extended period, at the very least while the new systems are being introduced. There is also a risk that certain customs data might be purposefully altered in Ukraine in order to re-export European goods to the EEU, or even conceal disparities in standards.
Technical regulations and standards are one of the most serious issues for us in terms of trade with Ukraine. The move to the new rules, in accordance with the Agreement, would mean that Russian exporters will no longer be able to use certificates, issued in Russia and currently accepted by the Ukrainian authorities, including lab and test results. It would also become impossible to use the Russian GOST system – while effective, it seriously differs from the EU methodology. At the same time, there are no agreements between EU, Russia and the EEU on mutual recognition in this area. All this would impose huge financial costs on Russian companies just to keep exporting to the Ukrainian market.
One more area of concern is sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Some of the articles of the Agreement mean that the system of control in the Ukraine, together with labeling standards, will become somewhat more relaxed, and that can possibly lead to exports to Russia of Ukrainian and European goods of inappropriate quality.
Some of the other topics include energy (e.g. obligation to lift export duties for natural gas which can apply in certain circumstances to Russian gas, as well as the obligation to adopt European electricity regulations which can disrupt the concurrent operation of our energy systems within the relevant bilateral Agreement) and migration (imbalances of the Ukrainian economy and unemployment growth can lead to a surge of labour migrants to Russia, especially considering eased border controls).
Russia and Ukraine are long-standing trade partners, with thousands companies and their employees involved in day-to-day mutually beneficial business projects. The risks that concern us are not theoretical, they will create real boundaries that some of the businesses will simply be unable to overcome. It remains our strong conviction that while Ukraine certainly has all the rights to strive for further integration into the EU market, a more thorough discussion of all the risks and consequences of the Association Agreement could have been more than welcome. And I am sure that it is never late for a dialogue. All the more so, that Brussels admits that it will take time and efforts for Ukraine to be prepared to implement its obligations under the Agreement.




LATEST EVENTS

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.


08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)


25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.


20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.


16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation


25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.


23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.


12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone's sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?


14.07.2017 - Letter of Consul General Mr Andrey Pritsepov to the Herald newspaper, published 13.07.2017

I NOTE a rather questionable article by Mark McLaughlin (“Russians lurking near Faslane to eavesdrop on nuclear submarines", The Herald, July 11). Do you really believe that 145 million Russians would elect a leader who would command his nuclear submarines to chase someone\'s sole and lonely operative U-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction or Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircraft on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters?



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