Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Thursday the creation of free trade area in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) would substantially improve the country's external accounts.
"We do not want to live in debt ... We want Ukraine and Ukrainians to earn more money than they spend, we want not to lend currency and then to repay debts with high interest rates. So we are trying every effort to enter foreign markets," Azarov told a government meeting.
Azarov said the CIS prime ministers agreed to ratify the agreement, which was signed Tuesday, before the end of this year so it could enter into force on Jan. 1, 2012.
The prime minister said that, in the first year after the establishment of the FTA, the country's budget would gain additional revenue of 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, which would help create new jobs and improve welfare in the country. The agreement was a foreign policy priority for his country, he added.
Ukraine's trade deficit stood at some 6 billion U.S. dollars in October 2011.