BRUSSELS, April 3 (Xinhua) -- An executive body of the European Union (EU) discussed on Thursday customs duties removal on most imported goods from Ukraine.
The European Parliament (EP) said in a statements they backed a proposal to remove about 98 percent of the customs duties that Ukrainian iron, steel, farm produce and machinery exporters pay at EU borders.
"This is our first chance to demonstrate our support in practical terms, to help Ukraine during its current economic crisis in the face of dwindling currency reserves and increased pressure from the Kremlin," said rapporteur Pawel Zalewski.
"As (Russian President Vladimir) Putin closes Russian markets for Ukrainian exports, we are opening them," he added.
The EP backed his proposal by 531 votes to 88, with 20 abstentions.
This unilateral measure will boost Ukraine's struggling economy by saving its manufacturers and exporters 487 million euros (667.67 million U.S. dollars) a year.
This unilateral trade measure, set to apply from May 2014, will remove 94.7 percent of EU tariffs currently charged on industrial goods imports from Ukraine and reduce them for the remaining handful of industrial goods.
It will also remove EU tariffs on over 80 percent of Ukraine's farm produce exports.
However, the EU will restrict the amounts of "sensitive" products, such as cereals, pork, beef, poultry, and processed food, that may be imported tariff free, so as not to harm the interests of EU producers of these products.