The Council of the European Union (EU) Monday adopted a regulation granting temporary reduction or elimination of customs duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU.
The Council during a meeting held in Luxembourg Monday approved the trade preferences proposal as part of key measures aimed at providing economic and financial support to Ukraine.
The regulation will enable Ukraine to benefit from trade preferences without awaiting entry into force of a "deep and comprehensive" free trade area included in the EU-Ukraine association agreement, a Council statement said.
The regulation is expected to enter into force at the end of April and will apply until Nov. 1, 2014 at the latest.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht in a separate statement said that under the regulation, 94.7 percent of current EU tariffs on Ukrainian industrial goods and all tariffs on Ukraine's agricultural produce are set to be removed.
The trade preferences are expected to save Ukrainian exporters about half a billion euros (691 million U.S. dollars) of EU customs tariffs a year.
"This decision not only expresses our solidarity with the Ukrainian people. It also shows that the EU is willing and capable to take immediate steps to improve the situation of our Eastern neighbors," De Gucht said.
De Gucht added, "We hope that in the meantime the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) part of the agreement will be signed and in force."