The European Union is set to lower its defences against imports from Ukraine in a sign that Brussels is finally providing concrete help for Kiev after the Orange Revolution.
The European Commission has decided that Ukraine deserves the title of "market economy status" - a move that reduces Brussels' scope to levy hefty anti-dumping duties on Ukrainian imports. Such a classification has been one of Kiev's main objectives this year. The EU is Ukraine's biggest trading partner; annual bilateral trade stands at $22bn (€18.6bn, £12.6bn), ahead of the $20bn trade between Ukraine and Russia.
"Ukraine now fulfils all the criteria to be granted market economy status," says an internal Commission paper seen by the Financial Times. "This means that Ukraine will be treated as a full-fledged market economy in all trade defence investigations," once the measure has come into force. The Commission expects the process will be completed by the end of this year or early next year.
Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's president, has sought greater help from the EU to consolidate the country's democratic swing, but Brussels has been dismayed by disarray within the Ukrainian administration and has been reluctant to encourage
Ukrainian hopes for EU membership.
I am busy now so I don't have time to talk about this. I'll get back to it later. Score one for Yuschenko though.