Montag, 2. September 2013

Ukraine and Russia: Customs formalities or political pressure?

The second half of August 2013 was not easy for Ukrainian trade with Russia: the latter has suddenly started to apply very strict control measures for Ukrainian goods at the Ukrainian-Russian border. As a result, thousands of tons of goods stood at the border and waited for completion of customs administration procedures. Some Ukrainian sources called this “an economic war against Ukraine”, but both Russian and Ukrainian officials said it was just a difficult situation with customs administration. The situation was deescalated after political contacts at the highest level had taken place. It is reported that the customs is working in a normal regime, also for Ukrainian goods. 
A little bit earlier, the production of a big Ukrainian candy producer was tested and prohibited for sale in Russia (as tests indicated that there were dangerous substances in the sweets).  There were also other disputes between Russia and Ukraine earlier this year.
Many experts believe that Russia wanted to show Ukraine that it could lose the big Russian market if it did not pursue its cooperation with the Customs Union (of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia) and instead strengthened cooperation with the EU. The best position for Ukraine would be to intensify cooperation with both trade partners. This, however, seems not to be easy: if Ukraine joined the Customs Union, an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement with DCFTA would not be possible. Will Ukraine be able to balance these interests?

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