In a vote amending an older Commission proposal, MEPs on Thursday offered more trade concessions to Ukraine, with the exception of a number of agricultural products.

“The EU should provide further trade preferences to Ukraine, but some sensitive agricultural products do not need additional support from the EU,” reads the decision of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, which supported the European Commission’s proposal to provide trade preferences to Ukraine early May.

The amendments were backed by 475 votes to 102, with 61 abstentions.

In particular, the increase in quotas for Ukrainian exports to the EU will concern tomatoes, wheat and mineral fertilizers.

MEPs ensured among other things, that:

  • — tomatoes, wheat, and urea, a raw material for fertilisers, do not enjoy further quota preferences than those outlined in the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA),

  • — the fight against corruption becomes a condition for granting Ukraine preferential exports, and

  • — industry representatives, not just member states, may request a study on possible measures protecting EU producers.

  • MEPs applauded the initiative.

“By granting additional temporary trade preferences, the European Parliament wants to support the ongoing reforms, strengthen small and medium enterprises and provide the necessary impetus for increased trade flows. I hope that these measures will boost our relationship and effectively help Ukraine”, rapporteur Jaroslaw Walesa (EPP, PL) said.

Parliament will start negotiations with national governments soon after the plenary vote. The DCFTA, part of the Association Agreement and provisionally applied since January 2016, provides for the mutual opening of markets for goods and services, but the EU reduces and abolishes duties faster. In view of Ukraine’s economic difficulties and its efforts to reform, the EU would offer additional new trade concessions to Kiev. The EU is Ukraine’s largest trading partner, whereas Ukraine accounts for 0.8% of the EU’s total trade. Ukrainian exports to the EU amounted to €12.7 billion in 2015, while EU exports to Ukraine were at €13.9 billion the same year.