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Russia | 14 March 2014

Statement by EU Trade Spokesman John Clancy following today’s meeting between European Trade Commissioner De Gucht and Russian Minister of Economic Development Ulyukayev

“On 14 March, European Trade Commissioner De Gucht met Russian Minister of Economic Development Ulyukayev. They discussed EU concerns about Russian trade irritants as well as Russian worries about the Association agreements the EU intends to sign with its Eastern partners, notably Ukraine.

Concerning the present obstacles to trade, Commissioner De Gucht repeatedly raised the need to make progress in solving the most pressing problems facing EU exports, especially the Russian import ban on all pigmeat coming from the EU, which is based on alleged veterinary problems. The Russian side, however, did not show willingness to find solutions to this serious problem. We reiterated our concerns that despite Russia's accession to the WTO, the Russian authorities appear to be taking steps backward towards a closed and protectionist economic environment.

The discussion about the economic impacts on Russia of the Eastern Partnership Association Agreements has been based on a decision taken at the EU-Russia Summit in January. The focus was on the impact of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with Ukraine. In spite of a detailed preparatory discussion among experts, the Russian side was not able to demonstrate that there would be substantial negative economic impacts of these agreements on the Russian economy. The EU reiterates once again that the proposed DCFTA between the EU and Ukraine would help to modernise and stabilise Ukraine's economy which in turn would be a catalyst to stimulating increased trade between Ukraine and Russia.

In light of the present circumstances not being conducive to a fruitful dialogue no further meetings have been planned." Stated EU Trade spokesman John Clancy

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