The decision reached by the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine that mutual restrictions on trade in specific groups of commodities are to be lifted in a short order is not liable to damage the interests of either Russian or Ukrainian producers, Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko has told reporters.
He did not specify the commodity groups in question. But, he said, "both sides stand to gain, because tension in the spring will be eased" that had led to a state in the two countries' trade ties which the media has dubbed a 'trade war.' Still, Moscow has not persuaded Kiev to lift discriminatory restrictions on Russian car imports.
In comments on the two Presidents' meeting in the Kremlin today, Khristenko noted the two countries' Economics Ministers would meet regularly henceforth. Furthermore, whatever commercial disputes arise will be "discussed preventively at the ministerial level in order to develop settlement tools pending the making of decisions on protective measures of any kind." The Deputy Prime Minister went on to disclose that some of the decisions already taken with regard to customs duties imposed on a range of goods would now be detailed, reviewed, and, in some cases, dropped. He did not name any concrete steps.
Moving on to issues of energy coordination the two Presidents had discussed, Khristenko announced the two leaders had agreed that Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Oleh Dubina would travel to Moscow next week. The creation of a natural gas consortium would figure prominently on the agenda for that visit. Among other things, negotiators on either side would tackle an intergovernmental agreement on strategic cooperation in the natural gas sector and an intercorporate document governing the creation of that consortium.
The Deputy Prime Minister said Russia and Ukraine are currently exchanging drafts of those documents. Within this August, they will be "approved on all essential points," with the finer details to be ironed out for signing in September.
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