Trade and economic relations
Ukraine's membership of the WTO in 2008 and the completion of the negotiations for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA is an integral part of the Association Agreement) are expected to deepen already promising economic partnership.
External trade is vitally important for both the Ukrainian and EU economies. Trade is an engine for growth and jobs and has a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of people and businesses. Increased trade and competition can lower prices, provide better quality and greater choice for consumers and create more and better jobs for both trading partners.
The EU is one of the most open economies in the world, with very low average applied tariffs, and is committed to trade liberalisation for the benefits of all. International trade provides employment for around 18% of the labour force and generates a 7% wage premium for EU workers. The EU was a strong supporter of Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which Ukraine joined in 2008, as it believed, and still does, that closer economic integration and increased trade with Ukraine can promote economic growth in Ukraine.
Building on that membership, the EU and Ukraine launched negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as part of a wider Association Agreement. These negotiations were completed on 19 October 2011 and the text of the Agreement was initialled in 2012. It is hoped the Agreement will be signed in 2013, and enter into force shortly afterwards, but a final decision will depend on the developing bilateral relationship.
The DCFTA would be one of the most ambitious bilateral agreements ever between the EU and a third country. It goes far beyond traditional trade liberalisation and offers Ukraine a blueprint for modernisation of its economy using a model already adopted successfully by many countries in Eastern and central Europe.