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Ukraine Businessmen Express Doubts on EU Deal

KIEV — Prominent Ukrainian businessmen have asked the country's president to postpone the signing of a landmark deal with the European Union, saying they needed more time to prepare for the planned free-trade zone.

President Viktor Yanukovych discussed Ukraine's bid for closer ties with the EU at a meeting with members of the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs on Tuesday, the presidential press service said.

"Let's put off the signing of the agreement for one year. Give us an opportunity to prepare, give us a chance to buy equipment. This important request comes not only from me, but from other industrialists as well," Valentyn Landyk, the president of the Donetsk-based refrigerator maker Nord Group, said.

Georgy Skudar, president of the machine maker NKMZ, said Ukrainian manufacturers face problems selling goods to members of the Russian-led Customs Union, adding that his company was unlikely to benefit from the free-trade zone and to be allowed to enter European markets.

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