The EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), entered in provisional application in January 2016 and came fully into force in September 2017.
The case of the Ukraine is an important one for animal welfare. The EU has included strong language on regulatory alignment in the field of animal welfare in exchange of providing very generous trade preferences to Ukrainian products. While no progress has been achieved so far on animal welfare (both partners have not even yet agreed which legislation should be approximated and by when), imports from Ukraine are strongly increasing.
For instance, poultry meat imports have been multiplied by 2 between 2015 and 2017 (from 29,551 to 61,973 tons), and the first 8 months of 2018 already amount to 73,026 tons. Eggs and egg products imports were roughly multiplied by 2.6 (869 to 2,298 tons), but again imports from January to August 2018 already reach 4,250 tons. Dairy imports went from almost none to 3,780 tons in 2017, and 4,286 tons in the first months of 2018. The EU-Ukraine DCFTA recognises that a sustainable agriculture is one respectful of animal welfare. However, so far the DCFTA stimulated a trade in very unsustainable products and both parties should work to correct that trend.
As part of the implementation process of this agreement, both parties had to set up or designate a “Domestic Advisory Group” (DAG) composed of civil society organisations, to monitor the implementation of the Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) Chapter included in the DCFTA.
On the EU side, the Domestic Advisory Group was created in November 2016 and Eurogroup for Animals has been a member from the onset. This is the only regular mechanism allowing for civil society interaction with the European Commission on trade-related issues with Ukraine and Eurogroup for Animals has pushed for the group to address animal welfare. Eurogroup for Animals is now the chair of the EU DAG on Ukraine and animal welfare well anchored in this DAG’s agenda.
Ukraine has incurred much delay in establishing its Domestic Advisory Group, putting the involvement of Ukrainian civil society on hold. However, this changed in November 2018 as a result of the setup of the Ukrainian DAG on 8 November and a first meeting between European and Ukrainian civil society organisations on 14 November in Kyiv. It was good to see that the Ukrainian DAG includes several environmental NGOs, some of which mentioned working on sustainable farming too.
Eurogroup for Animals raised the issue of animal welfare, and how it relates to sustainable development, underlining the importance for Ukraine to progress on regulatory alignment in the field. This position seemed to be supported by Ukrainian partners. Their support will be important as the Parties (the EU and Ukraine) will be more reluctant to recognise this reality and we will need to join forces to mount up political pressure. The meeting in Kyiv also provided an opportunity for Eurogroup for Animals’s Trade and Animal Welfare Project Leader to better coordinate with member organisations present on the ground (Vier Pfoten, Open Cages and CIWF).
Stephanie Ghislain, Trade and Animal Welfare Project leader
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