21 October 2018
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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

27.09.2018 - Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Security Council meeting, September 26, 2018

Mr President, Colleagues, In the modern world, an efficient fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly important for global and regional stability and the reliable security of all states without exception. Constructive cooperation in this area is an important component of the efforts to shape a positive international agenda. I think everybody agrees that the UN Security Council resolutions that outline specific measures against violations of non-proliferation must be strictly observed. Resolution 1540 remains the basis for this and contains obligations for the member states to take specific measures to prevent non-government agents from accessing weapons of mass destruction and their components. The UNSC decisions taken in pursuance of this resolution are particularly important as they include sanctions for handing over any types of weapons to terrorists. There have been incidents of such handovers and they must be thoroughly investigated.


07.09.2018 - Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UNSC meeting on the incident in Salisbury

Q: Do you expect British sanctions on Russia soon? A: We are not expecting or afraid of anything. Taking to the account how things have been developing during the recent years we do not exclude anything. This discussion and yesterday’s speech by the British Prime-Minister in the British Parliament are not coincidental. I think that’s looks like a prelude to a new political season. Q: So, Ambassador it’s really coming from the highest level in the UK. A: It always comes from the highest level. Last time when the incident took place it also came from the highest level. Q: But it seems that you are not taking it seriously. A: We are taking it very seriously. We were saying it all the time. Why we’ve been asking for cooperation with the UK from day one. Only few minutes ago Ambassador Pierce was referring to an ultimatum that Boris Johnson made in his letter to the Russian Ambassador in London when the incident took place presented as a request by the British site to cooperate while in fact it was a demand to to accept the gilt. At the same time our requests which we sent to British authorities constantly through OPCW and bilaterally were ignored.


06.09.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show on Channel One, Moscow, September 4, 2018

Question: Today we have a special guest in our studio, one of the main participants in the “great game”, someone the future of the world really depends on in many ways: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We are happy to welcome you in the Great Game studio. Sergey Lavrov: Thanks for inviting me.


22.08.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's anti-Russian claims

At a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's urges to European partners to slap their own sanctions on Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident.


16.08.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Salisbury Journal"

The Russian Ambassador said he stands together with the people of Salisbury in a meeting with the Journal last week, as the United States announced new sanctions against the country. Speaking at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko said: “We are together with the people of Salisbury.”


24.06.2018 - Greeting by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for the Znaniye school Family Day (Ealing, 24 June 2018)

Dear friends and guests, I am delighted to welcome you at a Family Day celebrating Russia and the World Cup. Today, Russia is the place to be for the whole world. It is a great pleasure to hear fans from all continents appreciating Russia’s hospitality, friendliness and openness to everyone. Right now, people from virtually every country see the 11 host cities, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals on the border of Europe and Asia, and realize how diverse and beautiful our country is. We’d like to bring a bit of Russia and the excitement of the World Cup to Ealing, for those who couldn’t make it to the tournament. By the way, so far both our teams are doing very well, and let us hope they keep up this good work. We cheer for both Russia and England but I’m afraid this can change if both teams meet at the semi-finals.


20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.


21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.


17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.


26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.



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