On 1 January 2016, the EU-Ukraine free trade agreement – the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) – came into effect as part of the broader Association Agreement signed in June 2014. The application of the DCFTA marks a milestone in the mutual relationship between the two parties as it presents new economic opportunities. While Ukrainian companies receive a long-term and predictable preferential access to the EU’s internal market of 500 million customers, EU businesses will be able to benefit from a simplified access to the Ukrainian market and establish new relations with Ukrainian suppliers and business partners. As a result of a deeper cooperation, Ukrainian citizens will benefit from greater competition and access to more high-quality products. Moreover, lower tariffs are expected to decrease prices of consumer goods as well.
The DCFTA’s ultimate goal is to modernize, stabilize and diversify the Ukrainian economy by approximating it to the European legislation in many areas such as competition, protection of intellectual property rights, and government procurement. The free trade deal will thus enable Ukraine to enhance its business climate, attract foreign investment, and thus help the country integrate more in the world economy. On top of the DCFTA, the EU continues to support Ukraine by providing assistance, know-how and expertise mostly to small and medium-sized enterprises to help the country reap as much benefit as possible out of the free trade deal.
Commissioner Malmström welcomed the DCFTA’s entering into force by expressing her confidence in the future prospects for Ukraine: “The entry into force of this trade area on 1 January 2016 creates unique opportunities for Ukraine to stabilize, diversify and develop its economy to the benefit of all its citizens. Assistance from the EU will be made available to help Ukrainian SMEs seize these new opportunities, to grow, and thereby create jobs. EU businesses will benefit as well by gaining improved access to a market of 45 million people. The change will not occur over night, it will require work and investment. Gradually, the DCFTA will contribute to a prosperous Ukraine and to stronger economic integration with the EU.”