THE GOVERNMENT gave its consent on August 20 to conclude EU Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, though be cleared by parliament and the president yet.

The agreements as a whole represent the next step on the road to deeper political, economic and trade relations between EU and the three states, the TASR newswire wrote. The goal is to boost their political and institutional stability and aid their gradual economic integration into EU internal market, mostly by virtue of the Free Trade Zone. The Association Agreements do not represent an automatic initiation of the integration process, even though Moldova intends to acquire a candidacy status as soon as next year. The integration is conditioned with reforms in key spheres.

EU leaders and member states signed the Association Agreements during EU summit on June 27, with Slovakia being represented by Prime Minister Robert Fico. As for Ukraine, only the trade part of the agreement was signed, as the political part was already inked earlier (on March 21).

The government also approved EU agreements with states of Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama) designed to boost mutual relations in the spheres of political dialogue, cooperation and trade. The agreement still needs to be passed by parliament and ratified by the president.

The agreements are also designed to do away with any customs and other trade obstacles, liberalise services and gradual reciprocal opening of public procurement markets. For Central America, EU represents the second largest trade partner. Central American countries export mostly agricultural products (coffee, bananas, pineapples, sugar) and some industrial devices (microchips, medical and optical equipment), whereas EU exports pharmaceutical products, processed oil, automobiles and engineering products.

EU trade negotiations with Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua began in 2007, with the Agreement on Liberalisation of Trade concluded on May 18, 2010.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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