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No winners if sealing trade agreement tanked Ukraine economy – Yanukovich

Published time: April 02, 2014 17:14
Edited time: April 03, 2014 10:15
Viktor Yanukovych (AP video still)

Viktor Yanukovych (AP video still)

Neither the EU, nor Ukraine and Russia would have gained if Kiev had rushed to sign the trade association agreement back in November, Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovich has said.

“With the terms the EU association agreement offered, it wasn’t advantageous for any party – neither for Europe, nor for Ukraine and Russia,” Viktor Yanukovich said on Wednesday in an interview with the Associated Press in Rostov-on-Don.

“My stance was quite public and transparent. Even today I believe that, regardless of who had been president at the time, no other decision could have been taken. Any other resolution would have been anti-national and contradictory to Ukraine’s national interests,” Yanukovich added.

In November 2013, Ukraine chose to shelve the trade association agreement with the EU, instead choosing to activate a dialogue with Russia and CIS countries.

But Yanukovich stressed that Kiev hadn’t completely rejected the deal. “We asked for a pause, to reflect, to find solutions to the contradictions that were quite obvious at the time,” he said.

“I believe that sooner or later Europe will resolve the issues concerning trade in an EU-Ukraine-Russia triangle. It’s inevitable because all politics is based on economy.”

Effects on Ukraine

Europe promised that signing the association agreement would save Ukrainian exporters nearly $490 million over 10 years, as 95 percent of goods would have zero customs duties. But Yanukovich said the deal would have ruined the country’s economy.

“Europe wouldn’t have gained if Ukraine’s economy had collapsed. It would have been the Europeans to blame for that,” Yanukovich said.

Briefing on the key points of the trade agreement, the ousted president explained the possible effects on machinery manufacturing and agriculture.

Machinery is composed of three main parts: military, transportation and power.

Military machinery, an industry that employs over 500,000 people in Ukraine, bears no relation to EU countries, because it’s produced in complete cooperation with Russia and other CIS countries, Yanukovich said.

On top of that, Ukraine consumes a very small portion of it, only about 10 percent, with the biggest share being exported to Russia and other CIS countries.

The same is true for transportation and power machinery, where discrepancies in technical standards are another big issue.

“Due to technical standards, Europe has never bought and won’t buy [Ukrainian] power machinery.”

“The standards are very different. Let’s start from the [railway] gauge which is narrow in Europe and broader in Russia and the CIS.”

Ukraine agriculture would also be hit dramatically if it opened its market for European producers.

“The subsidies in Europe for agriculture reach 30 percent. In Ukraine it’s 3 percent. So Ukraine’s agricultural produce wouldn’t be able to compete with the European,” Yanukovich said.

Trying to defend its market from re-exports, Russia would also lift customs fees, which would further erode the market.

“That’s why we couldn’t accept such an agreement. It was economically disadvantageous for us and we needed to find a best solution jointly with Europe and Russia.”

Comments (15)


DoAskDoTell 03.04.2014 20:21

Idiot... A smarter move would have been telling the Ukraine country about the terms of the 2 deals... before all this mess.


Warmonger101 03.04.2014 09:12

Andrew 02.04.2014 22:16

Now Yanukovych says that Crimea accession into Russia was a terrible tragedy...... He is a bitter, corrupt, and hateful man simply going out of control. Maidan in Russia is next! There is no doubt!


A ndrew you are working overtime like a broken record. Your handlers dont tell you much. After 10 world regions are set (ukraine project was to finalize the re-mapping of euro region), they will crash USA economy so it can easily merge with Mexico and Canada (N. America region). You know how Americans cant handle hunger and poverty. Chaos will result.


Erik Trete 03.04.2014 08:55

PR101 02.04.2014 19:49

“My stance was quite public and transparent. Even today I believe that, regardless of who had been president at the time, no other decision could have been taken."

i believe this is probably true. The mistake he made was not explaining the situation good enough to the population so they could better understand his actions.


He waited far too long before laying it all out to the UA people, probably hoping to get a better "deal" he negotiated to the last minute pitting EU against RU. He failed to get public buy-in, why secret negotiations are a fail.

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