Business news from Ukraine

Japan donates 101 vehicles to Ukraine

At the request of the Ukrainian government, Japan has provided Ukraine with a series of vehicles, the Japanese Embassy reports.

“At the request of the Ukrainian government, the Ministry of Defense of Japan and the Japan Self-Defense Forces provided Ukraine with a series of vehicles under a decision made in May 2023. The batch of 101 vehicles arrived in Poland on June 5 and was then handed over to Ukraine,” the X social media post reads.

The embassy emphasized that Japan would continue to support Ukraine.

In turn, the Ministry of Defense in X expressed gratitude to Japan for its support and informed that the aid includes Toyota HMV and Mitsubishi Type 73 Kogata SUVs, as well as PC-065B tracked engineering vehicles.

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Japan considers opening its market for Ukrainian poultry meat

Japan is considering opening Asian markets to Ukrainian agricultural products, particularly chicken meat, said Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine Matsuda Kuninori at a meeting with Acting Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotsky.

“Ambassador Matsuda Kuninori said that the Japanese side has confirmed the participation of its delegation in the International Conference on Ukraine Recovery (URC2024), which will be held on June 11-12, 2024 in Berlin. Japan is organizing a roundtable discussion on Ukrainian-Japanese cooperation in the agricultural sector,” the press service of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food said.

The acting minister, for his part, thanked Japan for its systematic support of Ukraine and noted that the opening of Asian markets for Ukrainian agricultural products is an important step for the development of bilateral relations and business.

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China, Japan and South Korea Hold Regional Summit – New York Times

In the first trilateral meeting since 2019, the neighbors sought common ground on trade and cultural exchange while tiptoeing around thorny security issues.

The leaders of South Korea and Japan on Monday sought to restore economic cooperation with China, their largest trading partner, after years of deteriorating relations, but their trilateral talks were overshadowed by rising tensions between China and the United States, Seoul and Tokyo’s most important military ally.

The trilateral meeting, which was attended by South Korean President Yun Seok-yeol, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the second highest-ranking official, was the first in four and a half years.

The talks focused mainly on areas where it is easier to find common ground, such as protecting supply chains, facilitating trade, and cooperating to address aging populations and emerging infectious diseases. The leaders tiptoed around sensitive regional security issues such as Taiwan and North Korea.

“The three countries agreed to expand practical cooperation so that their peoples can experience its benefits,” Mr. Yun said during a joint press conference with Messrs. Kishida and Lee, declaring 2025 and 2026 “years of cultural exchanges” between the three countries.

But in the hours before the meeting, North Korea helped to emphasize the major differences between the three neighbors. Pyongyang announced that it would launch a long-range rocket within nine days to put a military spy satellite into space. United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit the country from launching such missiles because they use the same technology needed to build intercontinental ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s increasingly aggressive military posture is a concern for South Korea and Japan. The North has also expanded its arms trade with Russia in defiance of UN sanctions, supplying artillery shells and missiles for Moscow’s military operations in Ukraine, according to US and South Korean officials. In response, Moscow has been accused of providing energy and technological assistance that could contribute to North Korea’s missile program.

South Korea and Japan have called on China, North Korea’s biggest benefactor, to use its economic clout to help curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. Until now, Beijing has been reluctant to use this leverage, viewing North Korea as a buffer against the U.S. military on the Korean Peninsula.

On Monday, both Mr. Yun and Mr. Kishida sharply criticized the North Korean plan to launch the satellite. But Mr. Li, who serves under Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, did not condemn North Korea, but merely called on all sides to “exercise restraint” and work toward a “political settlement.”

As the press conference in Seoul was winding down, 20 South Korean warplanes conducted air drills south of the inter-Korean border as a warning of “immediate and strong” retaliation for North Korea’s provocation.

China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to hold a trilateral meeting every year since 2008 to discuss regional cooperation. But the plan has often been disrupted by diplomatic disputes, and most recently by the pandemic. Monday’s meeting in Seoul was the ninth such meeting and the first since December 2019.

During the years-long hiatus, strategic competition between Washington and Beijing has intensified, which has also deteriorated relations between China and the two US allies. China has flexed its military muscle and expanded its territorial ambitions in the South China and East China Seas, while the United States, Japan, and South Korea have increased the number of joint military exercises and strengthened missile defense and other security cooperation.

China’s ties with the two U.S. allies have become so strained in recent years that analysts say the revival of the trilateral summit is an achievement in itself. But common interests compelled Beijing and its two neighbors to revive it.

Mr. Yun said on Monday that the three countries had agreed to hold regular summit meetings.

East Asia’s neighboring countries, which together account for more than a fifth of global economic output, need regional stability and cooperation, especially in supply chains, to recover from the post-pandemic economic downturn. While Japan and South Korea consider the United States their most important ally, hosting 80,000 U.S. troops, their leaders face pressure at home from businesses competing for better access to China.

China is betting that it can appease Japan and South Korea by offering them greater access to its market and reducing Washington’s influence. To this end, China has agreed to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement between the three neighbors, emphasizing increased economic cooperation as a means of maintaining regional peace and stability.

He portrayed the United States as meddling in Asian affairs, pressuring Japan and South Korea to form a bloc to curb China’s development. Washington has built a wall of restrictions to deny Beijing access to the latest semiconductors and is calling on allies such as Japan and South Korea to cooperate.

On Monday, Mr. Li indirectly criticized Washington, calling for a “multipolar” world order and opposing any attempts to create “blocs” and “politicize” trade issues.

In recent years, Japan and South Korea have grown closer, improving relations that have long been strained by historical disputes. They have also expanded trilateral military cooperation with the United States to deter North Korea and China.

Japan and South Korea have called on China to address concerns about the difficulties of doing business in China. Mr. Kishida called for the speedy release of Japanese citizens detained in China on suspicion of espionage.

During bilateral talks on Sunday, South Korea and China agreed to establish new channels to discuss security and supply chain cooperation, said Kim Tae-hyo, deputy director of national security in Mr. Yoon’s office.

Mr. Yoon’s policy of bringing South Korea closer to the United States has coincided with a sharp drop in South Korean exports to China. According to government data, this year the United States overtook China as South Korea’s largest export market for the first time in two decades.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/27/world/asia/china-japan-korea-trilateral.html

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Japan’s economy posted contraction in first quarter

Japan’s economy contracted 0.5% in the first quarter relative to the previous three months, according to preliminary government data. Analysts, whose average estimates are quoted by Trading Economics, had expected a 0.4% decline in GDP.

According to the revised data, the economy was unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2023, while previously reported growth of 0.1%.

On an annualized basis, Japanese GDP contracted 2% last quarter after a revised zero change a quarter earlier. The consensus forecast called for a 1.5% drop in January-March.

Consumer spending in the first quarter decreased by 0.7% relative to the previous three months, business investment – by 0.8%. Government spending rose by 0.2%.

Exports decreased by 5% after growth of 2.8% quarter earlier, imports – by 3.4% (+1.8% in October-December).
Earlier Experts Club analytical center and Maxim Urakin released a video analysis of how the GDP of the world’s countries has changed in recent years, more detailed video analysis is available here – https://youtu.be/w5fF_GYyrIc?si=BsZmIUERHSBJrO_3.

Subscribe to Experts Club YouTube channel here – https://www.youtube.com/@ExpertsClub

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Japan intends to increase its presence in investment market of Ukraine

Japan intends to increase its presence in the Ukrainian investment market, in particular, to expand business ties in the field of investment and trade, Japanese partners will open an office of the Japan External Trade Organization JETRO in Kyiv, the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine reported following a meeting on April 23 between Deputy Minister and Trade Representative Taras Kachka and the Economic Mission of the Government of Japan.

“The governments of Ukraine and Japan are already preparing a draft updated Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of Investments, which will promote economic development and expand trade between the two countries. The agreement will, in particular, provide Japanese investors with reliable legal protection and guarantees for their investments, which is an important incentive for investment in the private sector and projects to restore Ukraine,” Kachka was quoted as saying in the release.

It is stated that Japan plans to provide EUR 160 million to support Ukraine’s economic recovery projects. Ukraine’s priorities include energy, housing, critical infrastructure, humanitarian demining, and business support.

The participants also discussed the participation of representatives of the Japanese government and Japanese business in the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC 2024) in Berlin on June 11-12 this year, as well as preparations for EXPO 2025 in Osaka and the Ministerial Meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance received $118 million grant from Japan

The Ministry of Finance of Ukraine has received $118 million on a non-refundable basis from Japan under the World Bank’s Health Enhancement and Life Saving (HEAL Ukraine) and Housing Repair for People’s Empowerment (HOPE) projects.

“The raised funds under the HEAL and HOPE projects will help the government to provide its citizens with adequate assistance, in particular, to expand the range of medical services and access to them, as well as to ensure overcoming the consequences caused by Russia’s armed aggression, to restore the housing infrastructure of Ukraine,” Minister Serhiy Marchenko was quoted as saying in the release of the Ministry of Finance on Monday.

It is specified that the attracted grant funding consists of $70 million under the HEAL Ukraine project, aimed at supporting the state budget as a reimbursement of incurred expenses under the Medical Guarantee Program, and $48.2 million – under the HOPE project, the funds of which are used to reimburse state budget expenditures used for compensatory payments to homeowners for repairs in apartment buildings and private houses in need of minor and medium repairs.

As reported, Ukraine received a record $8.9bn in international financial aid in March after only $1.2bn cumulatively in the first two months.

Due to the low external support, international reserves fell by 3.8%, or $1.47 billion, to $37.05 billion in February, after falling by 4.9%, or $1.98 billion hryvnia, in January.

The National Bank had forecast that the latest external inflows would allow international reserves to recover substantially. In January, it lowered their forecast for the end of 2024 to $40.4 billion from $44.7 billion.

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