The road to ACAA: What is in it for Ukraine?
Concluding an Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA) with the EU – also called the “industrial visa-free” regime – is high on the agenda of the Ukrainian government. This addition to the DCFTA with the EU would ensure recognition of Ukrainian conformity assessments for industrial products in the EU and vice versa, hence further lowering non-tarriff barriers to trade. It is also an ambitious undertaking, requiring legal and institutional alignment to EU standards. The EU has so far only concluded one ACAA, much more limited in scope, with Israel.
Initially, ACAA will cover only three out of 27 product categories. Once implemented, ACAA in its current guise would directly cover around 20% of Ukraine’s imports from the EU and 5% of exports to the EU. ACAA would have a positive, but small direct effect on trade with the EU. Indirect effects are less easily quantifiable, but appear to be more important. Due to reduced trade costs, regulatory risks and bureaucratic burdens, trade could expand to encompass companies and products presently not involved in Ukraine-EU trade. Recognition by the EU can be used as a signal to expand trade with third countries. Cheaper imports of EU capital goods will contribute to the modernisation of the economy. Politically, ACAA would be a powerful symbol for Ukraine’s image as a EU partner and of its commitment to further implementing EU standards.