EU-Ukraine Free Trade Area
On 18 February 2008 former EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko launched negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The launch of negotiations followed the finalization of Ukraine's WTO accession process on 5 February 2008 (Ukraine formally became WTO member on 16 May 2008), which was a prerequisite for the start of FTA negotiations. The FTA will be an integral part of the future Association Agreement (negotiations opened on 6 March 2007). The FTA is part of the EU's wider policy of creating a stable and prosperous European neighborhood through closer economic ties.
The EU-Ukraine FTA is supposed to become the first of a new type of “deep and comprehensive” trade agreements. The FTA will cover a wide array of trade-related issues (“comprehensive”) and it aims at eliminating 'behind the border' obstacles to trade through processes of regulatory approximation, thus partially opening/extending the EU internal market to Ukraine (“deep”). The FTA will give Ukraine "a stake in the EU internal market".
As of November 2009, 8 Rounds of the FTA negotiations with Ukraine took place and the 9th Round is scheduled for 7-11 December in Kyiv. Discussions have taken place in the following working groups: (1) Trade in goods , (2) Trade and Sustainable Development, (3) Rules of Origin, (4) Services, capital and establishment (5) Intellectual Property Rights (incl. Geographical Indications), (6) Customs and Trade Facilitation, (7) Public Procurement, (8) Competition (anti-trust and state aid), (9) SPS, (10) Trade related energy issues, (11) Tariff offer, (12) Dispute Settlement, (13) Transparency.