MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia does not think Ukraine's possible participation in the Custom Union of the Common Economic Space excludes creation of the free trade area between Ukraine and the European Union.
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Igor Shuvalov gave the position during a joint news briefing with Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister/Economic Development and Trade Minister Andrii Kliuev.
"We deem these formats as being not excluding one another. Moreover, Ukraine's possible participation in the Customs Union could even accelerate at a certain stage the creation of the free trade area with the European Union," said Shuvalov.
He said the Russian delegation informed Ukraine on advantages of the Customs Union of the Common Economic Space during the negotiations.
He added that participants in the Customs Union of the CES strive to conclude an agreement on free trade area with the European Union on mutually beneficial basis.
Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister Andrii Kliuev for his part informed about the process of negotiations on free trade area with the European Union.
"Yesterday we held consultations in Brussels with the European Commission on creation of the free trade area... On certain questions we came to quite good achievements and now we agreed to have on-line consultations by the end of April in order to shift to the next 16th round of the negotiations," he said.
Andrii Kliuev said the negotiations with the Russian delegation concerned among others the question of creation of a free trade area within the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Kliuev gave a positive assessment of the negotiations with the Russian delegation.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine decided to hold parliamentary hearings on May 11, 2011, on the situation and prospects for development of economic relations with the European Union and customs union in frames of the Common Economic Space.
Ukraine has decided to observe at the negotiations between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on the formation of customs union in the frames of the Common Economic Space.
President Viktor Yanukovych has said that Ukraine may consider joining the customs union of the common economic space that Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are creating if the CES proves efficient.
According to Yanukovych, if Ukraine signs an agreement on joining the CES's customs union it will be necessary for the parliament to ratify it and make the relevant amendments to the constitution, and these will require the support of at least 300 parliamentary deputies.
The European Union's Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele has said that creation of a free trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union, to which Ukraine aspires, is incompatible with Ukrainian membership of the Common Economic Space's customs union.