The Government engages in working to ease the conditions of doing business in Ukraine and to facilitate the entry of Ukrainian companies into European markets. Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said during a Global Challenges for Ukrainian Exporters session at the Trade Wars: Art of Protection conference.
During the discussion the participants considered the impact of including of European integration as a strategic course of the state and one of the priorities for the Government to protect Ukrainian producers, the prospects of the industrial free visa regime, integration into the EU energy and digital markets, updating of the Association Agreement.
Dmytro Kuleba noted that Ukraine's exports to the EU continue to grow. The European Union remains Ukraine's main trading partner (for the first half of 2019, the EU's share in total exports was 41.7%). In January-August this year, trade in goods from the EU brought $30.1 billion, an increase of 8.1% against the corresponding period of last year. Exports from Ukraine to the EU during this period amounted to $14 billion, which is by 7.5% more than over the same period of last year. The number of Ukrainian companies exporting to EU Member States is constantly growing. As of 2018, more than 14,000 Ukrainian companies were exporting to the EU by (4,000 more than in 2014).
However, according to the Deputy Prime Minister, if the current structure of Ukrainian exports is preserved, its volume in the EU could soon reach its ceiling. "Given that agricultural and raw materials are a major part of our exports, we are already seeing that our export growth is gradually slowing down. Trade with the EU must be balanced and the Government's task is to find effective tools to solve this issue. That is why we anchor our hopes on signing an agreement on industrial free visa regime - that should provide new opportunities for Ukrainian exports and allow to expand the range of exported products", said Dmytro Kuleba.
He noted that Ukraine is raising a question to the EU of the necessity of updating the Association Agreement. "First of all, it has to be acknowledged - it has been harmonized in one reality, and now it exists in another. We deliberately do not use the term "revision of the Agreement" - we are talking about the fact that the Agreement must be brought to reality," said the Deputy Prime Minister. According to him, such an example is the plans on updating the Annex to the Agreement, which covers the justice, freedom and security sector: "It will be a truly revolutionary thing that will apply to the protection of personal data, the fight against corruption, and the customs issues."
The top official emphasized that Ukraine now focuses on reforming the customs, establishing more transparent rules for crossing the customs border. For this purpose, a number of European integration laws have been adopted (in particular, on joint transit, authorized economic operators), and the implementation of the integrated border management strategy will begin shortly.
The Deputy Prime Minister stressed that Ukraine intends to offer the EU a number of other initiatives that deepen relations with Ukraine and fit the times.
Meanwhile, Trade Representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka noted that Ukraine and the EU will hold a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Trade Association Committee in Brussels on December 18-19, dedicated to the analysis of bilateral trade conditions. On its outcomes, there will be finally formulated a strategy for updating and modernizing the Agreement.
Talking about other areas of trade development, Dmytro Kuleba noted that he considered it a good prospect the deepening trade relations with China.