World Bulletin / News Desk
“With today's decision, we are allowing more Ukrainian products to be exported to the EU,” the EU Council said in a statement.
“It is our duty to support Ukraine and strengthen our economic and political ties, also in the face of the ongoing conflict on its soil.”
The deal, agreed by foreign ministers, is in recognition of political and economic reforms undertaken by Ukraine, as well as the country’s struggling economy.
The agreement, which will come into force by the end of September, states that a zero tariff will apply to more than 1 million tonnes of additional farm products including honey, processed tomatoes, grains and cereals.
Duties on fertilizers, dyes, footwear, copper, aluminium and electrical goods will also be cut under the same terms.
The measures add to a January 2016 free-trade agreement and the 2014 EU-Ukraine association agreement, which promises economic assistance for Ukraine in return for Kiev adopting a reform package.
“Ukraine will be obliged to respect the same principles as under the association agreement,” the council’s statement added.
“These include respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms and for the principle of the rule of law, as well as continued and sustained efforts with regard to the fight against corruption and illegal activities.”
The EU accounted for more than 40 percent of Ukraine’s trade in 2015.
Ukraine has been wracked by conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The fighting with separatists in the Donbass area has led to more than 10,000 deaths, according to the UN.