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EU official urges Ukraine to sign free trade deal


18:07, June 14, 2013

KIEV, June 14 (Xinhua) -- A senior European Union (EU) official on Friday urged Kiev to sign a free trade agreement with the 27-member bloc, pledging a huge market for Ukrainian exports.

"We offer a multi-vector relationship not only with the EU but also with the rest of the world. If Ukraine signs the agreement, it will uphold the free trade with the EU countries, as well as with the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia and others," Peter Balas, deputy director-general for external trade at European Commission, the EU's executive arm, told an international business conference here.

The free trade agreement with the EU will give Ukraine opportunities to explore new markets for its goods, Balas said.

He added that Ukraine's planned common economic space with the Russia-led Customs Union (CU) will be incompatible with EU free trade deal.

To keep a balanced policy toward both Moscow and Brussels, Ukrainian officials reiterated the hope to sign association agreement and free trade deal with EU during the Eastern Partnership summit in November, while stressing that the country's observer status in the CU is not an obstacle to it.

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