Both Moldova and Ukraine signed Association Agreements with the EU in 2014. This marked a new stage in the development of the EU’s bilateral relations with both countries, aiming at political association and economic integration.
Trade and trade-related matters feature heavily in the Association Agreements with both Moldova and Ukraine under Title IV. Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) between the EU-Moldova and EU-Ukraine were established in June 2014 and January 2016 respectively. They oblige the mutual opening of markets for goods and services.
EUBAM, together with the European Commission and EU Delegations to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, has played an active role in ensuring the Customs Services of both countries smoothly implement this new trade regime and adapt their legislation and procedures accordingly. Head of EUBAM’s Border Management Department, Colin Gazeley, explains what the DCFTAs are and how EUBAM supports their introduction.
The DCFTAs will see Moldova and Ukraine’s Customs legislation and procedures aligned with the EU’s Union Customs Code. The Mission has assisted Moldova to redraft its Customs Code in line with EU standards, and advised both countries in the Preferential Rules of Origin and “no-drawback” rule in the Origin Protocol of the DCFTAs.
Reforming Customs procedures is not just a paper-based exercise. It affects economic operators in both countries and ensuring the reforms do not disrupt or inhibit trade is essential for the success of the DCFTAs. In 2015 the Mission created a Trade Facilitation Working Group. Colin Gazeley explains how EUBAM reaches out to business.
Promoting business-friendly procedures are at the heart of EUBAM’s support. A major achievement has been Moldova’s bold step in May 2015 to reduce the number of support documents required for customs clearance from around 11 to three. This cut business costs, boosted competitiveness and raises Moldova’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. The Mission has been active in both countries to ensure Customs legislation and procedures facilitate trade. Vladimir, Pisar, EUBAM’s Trade Facilitation Advisor, explains.
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The Mission also partnered Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service in the launch of a Single Window system in August 2016. It is currently advising Moldova to establish a similar system on its territory.With the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk, two of the four largest in Ukraine, within EUBAM’s area of operations, the Mission pays close attention to the day-to-day procedures for trade. With the launch of the EU-Ukraine DCFTA in 2016, EUBAM worked closely with Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service to ensure trade certificates between the EU and Ukraine were issued correctly and on time.
With EUBAM’s support, Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service elaborated and disseminated instructions to Customs Officers and made explanatory notes available for economic operators. Nearly 48,000 EUR.1 certificates were issued and 112 exporters approved to declare origin on export commercial documents in 2016. Based on the Mission’s advice, the State Fiscal Service has approved exporters to self-certify origin for preferential treatment of Ukrainian goods import into the EU. The Mission also contributed to instructions disseminated to Customs Officers and economic operators on the DCFTA provisions to ensure their coherent and informed application.
Who we are?
The European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) was launched in 2005. It promotes border control and customs norms and practices that meet EU standards and serve the needs of its two partner countries. It is an advisory, technical body with the Headhunters in Odesa (Ukraine). A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the European Commission and the Governments of Moldova and Ukraine in late 2005 is the legal basis for EUBAM, while an Advisory Board acts as the Mission’s governing body. The mandate of the Mission has already been extended five times (in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017), with the current mandate expiring on 30 November 2020.
What we do?
The Mission works with Moldova and Ukraine to harmonise border control, and customs and trade standards and procedures with those in EU Member States. It helps to improve cross-border cooperation between the border guard and customs agencies and other law enforcement bodies and to facilitate international coordinated cooperation. EUBAM assists Moldova and Ukraine to fulfil the obligations of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which both countries signed as part of their Association Agreements with the EU. It also contributes to the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict through confidence building measures and as a monitoring presence at the Transnistrian segment of the Moldova-Ukraine border.
Where we work?
The Moldova-Ukraine state border is 1,222 km long, consisting of 955 km of “green” (land) border and 267 km of “blue” (river) border.
The Mission is headquartered in Odesa (Ukraine). It has an EUBAM Office in Moldova and six field offices – three on the Moldovan side of the joint border and three on the Ukrainian side.
EUBAM Office in Moldova has a liaison function which is focused on projecting and representing the activities of EUBAM amongst other donors and beneficiaries to ensure better coordination and an improved consultative process. It enables the identification of strategic partner needs that are relevant to current and future planning, and have provides EUBAM with an understanding of the broader issues and obstacles that may affect the achievement of objectives.
There are 67 permanent official border crossing points along the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, including international, inter-state and local ones. The central segment of this border length 453 km is under Tiraspol control, including 25 official crossing points to Ukraine.
The “internal boundary” between the two banks of the Dniester river is not monitored by Moldovan border guards, but there are some customs check-points.