Good afternoon, dear colleagues, fellow Ukrainians.
This year, Ukraine faces many challenges in the economic sphere.
We are focusing on logistics, exports and increasing foreign investment.
First of all, we are expanding the geography of our exports. We are promoting Ukrainian products on the global market. We are agreeing on new free trade zones and duty-free access for our goods to various countries.
Yesterday, Ukraine and the UK signed a document extending the duty-free trade regime. There will be no duties on exports of Ukrainian goods to the UK for another 5 years.
Last year, the volume of trade between Ukraine and the UK grew by 20% and exceeded USD 1.4 billion. This happened, in part, thanks to this agreement.
Also this week, the House of Commons of Canada passed legislation allowing for the launch of the updated Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.
The President of Ukraine signed it in Canada last year, and this agreement will introduce the most modern regime of liberalisation of services and investment markets.
We are moving to the principle of “everything which is not forbidden is allowed” in our relations with Canada. This will open up new opportunities for Ukrainian businesses, especially in the IT sector.
We agree to extend the “economic visa-free regime” with the European Union. This also means that our entrepreneurs will be able to export their goods to Europe without customs duties.
Currently, Ukraine’s exports to the EU account for almost ⅔ of the total volume. Therefore, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of this agreement for Ukrainian business and our economy.
The first interim step has already been taken. The European Commission recommends extending the “economic visa-free regime” until June 2025.
This week we raised this issue with EU High Representative Josep Borrell during his visit to Kyiv.
The strategic task is to enshrine a fully free trade regime between Ukraine and the EU in the Association Agreement. We are working on this.
We are also negotiating with the EU to extend the “transport visa free regime”. Ukrainian companies should have the right to continue transporting goods without additional permits.
Improving logistics is also about convenient services at the border. In particular, we are continuing to scale up the eCherha project.
Starting next week, the electronic queue for buses will be launched at all checkpoints with the EU and Moldova. This will speed up border crossing.
Since the launch of the eCherha project, more than 40,000 buses and 725,000 trucks have crossed the border using the electronic queue. This has saved thousands of hours of time for people and Ukrainian businesses.
The recovery of our economy gives us more resources to strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities.
This week, the Army of Drones project turns one year old. During this time, we have increased our drone production capabilities hundreds of times.
The most important thing is that we have engaged the private sector in production. More than 200 companies now produce various unmanned systems. We are creating the conditions for there to be no bureaucracy, for there to be resources for R&D, for there to be more competition for better results.
In strengthening our defence industry, it is important for us to establish systematic work.
To this end, we are establishing the Industrial and Defence Committee of Ukraine. The Committee will be chaired by the Prime Minister of Ukraine. It will be composed of the Minister of Strategic Industries, the Minister of Defence, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, the Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology Development, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine.
We also want to involve arms manufacturers, independent experts and specialists in the work of the committee. Our task is to bring the Ukrainian defence industry to a new level, to create a unique system of support for manufacturers, to provide more incentives, to increase the level of interaction with international companies in this field.
We will also invite local authorities to join this work.
In general, it is important for us to involve local authorities more in supporting the defence of our country.
In turn, we will continue to provide Ukrainian communities with the necessary financial assistance. In January of this year, we transferred UAH 11.8 billion to the local level. This includes UAH 2.5 billion in additional subsidies.
As of 1 February this year, the balances on the accounts of local budgets and budgetary institutions amounted to UAH 130 billion.
It is important that these funds are used primarily to protect Ukraine and our citizens.
Finally, on the fulfilment of our obligations to the EU to protect the rights of national minorities.
In accordance with the relevant law on national minorities, we are adopting the Methodology for the use of languages of national minorities in the areas of their traditional and compact residence.
It is about the use of national minority languages in the provision of public and social services, in interaction with the authorities, in the provision of medical care and other areas.
We are ensuring the right of a national minority to develop its language, while at the same time preserving all the privileges of Ukrainian as the state language.
We are implementing European standards, drawing closer to the EU and looking forward to the earliest possible start of direct negotiations on accession to the European Union.
We are working as a united team for the sake of Ukraine’s victory, peace and prosperity.
Thank you for your attention.
Glory to Ukraine!