The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine at a meeting on August 26 approved an order On signing an Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of the Republic of Mauritius on the mutual abolition of visa requirements,” the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reports.
“We work to further expand freedom of travel for Ukrainians,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
It is reported that the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers is the first step towards the introduction of a visa-free regime. In the future, Ukraine and Mauritius must sign an agreement and carry out a number of domestic procedures.
The draft Agreement provides for the introduction of a visa-free regime for mutual trips of citizens of Ukraine and the Republic of Mauritius for up to 90 days within 180 days.
“The conclusion of a visa-free visa will allow to intensify interpersonal contacts and further develop partnerships with the Republic of Mauritius. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to work systematically to expand freedom of travel for Ukrainians, which is an important element of Ukraine’s foreign policy strategy,” the ministry said.
Germany wants the agreement on the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to be prolonged as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
“Our cooperation in the sphere of energy is very important. It already exists, but it will continue, also because there will be further traffic through the Ukrainian gas transport system from Russia to Europe. I have spoken about that with the Russian president [during the visit to Moscow on August 20] that we want to prolong the agreement, which is in effect until 2024, as soon as possible. We will also speak about that in Europe and with the companies that are associated with that here,” Merkel said at a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Sunday.
Germany will also have its own special envoy on transit issues, Merkel said.
“We agree with the Americans that gas cannot be used as a weapon. And therefore, we will be holding these talks with the Americans,” Merkel said.
“It has to be said that Nord Stream 2 is not a German-Russian project, there are companies from Germany, the Netherlands, and France there. And therefore it’s a European-Russian project, it is subject to European law, it is subject to the law of the Third Energy Package because we are not fully free in regulation, but should cite exactly that, therefore we didn’t hold these talks from the German side, but we supported that on the European side,” she said.
Merkel said Ukraine needs to develop in the direction of climate neutrality.
“We will export gas from Russia to Europe after 2024, and it’s important here that Ukraine should stay a transit country, and it’s important that this agreement should stay, and then step by step – it’s very important to Russia – Ukraine should also develop in the direction of climate neutrality. Germany should achieve that by 2045. That is why gas consumption will decrease, and then gas will not go on Nord Stream or via Ukraine’s gas transport system, and then Ukraine should be ready for what can be done then,” Merkel said.
One of the possibilities is partnership in the sphere of green energy, namely on hydrogen, she said.
“But it’s not a problem that can replace transit via the Ukrainian gas transport system from 2024. However, due to the renewable sources of energy, which can be expanded in Ukraine, it is possible to help here to produce green hydrogen by means of hydrolysis, by means of green energy from renewable sources of energy and use it,” the chancellor said.
Deputy Minister of Economy – Trade Representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka expects to sign an agreement on the so-called industrial visa-free regime with the EU (ACAA Agreement) by the end of 2021.
“I hope that by the end of the year we will come to the signing of the ACAA Agreement. The main effect will be in one thing – this is the greatest investment in the confidence in Ukrainian producers,” the Ministry of Economy quotes Kachka in a press release.
He added that the second phase of the quality infrastructure assessment is scheduled for September.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he welcomes the signing of an intergovernmental agreement between Ukraine and Turkey on housing construction for Crimean Tatars, which will allow the construction of about 500 residential apartments, including for internally displaced persons.
“I welcome the signing of an intergovernmental agreement between Ukraine and Turkey on cooperation in the field of housing construction. This makes it possible to build about 500 apartments for representatives of the Crimean Tatar people and other internally displaced persons. This is a very important humanitarian project that will bring the peoples of Ukraine and Turkey closer together,” Zelensky said at the ceremony of signing Ukrainian-Turkish documents with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In addition, according to Zelensky, “further liberalization of trade and economic relations between Ukraine and Turkey is important.”
“The signing of a bilateral free trade area agreement will be able to significantly increase the momentum of cooperation,” Zelensky said.
“This is a very important step that must be taken in accordance with the national interests of each of the countries, because we agreed with the President of Turkey that the relevant institutions of our countries will conduct a very substantive audit of all controversial issues and find a mutual compromise that will open the way to signing of this important document,” the president added.
The presidents also discussed the prospects for Turkish investments in Ukraine, in particular “opportunities for large-scale privatization in the field of investments in seaports, as well as cooperation in the energy and military spheres, including aircraft construction.”
“Our goal is the implementation of specific projects, the creation of joint ventures, the exchange of experience and technologies,” the President of Ukraine said.
Ukrcement proposes to exclude from the agreement on a free trade zone (FTA) with Turkey commodity items that are fully provided by its own manufacturer, head of the Ukrcement association Pavlo Kachur told the Interfax-Ukraine agency.
“The signing of an agreement on a free trade zone with Turkey for the cement industry poses a serious threat. We have transferred our position to the Ministry of Economy and the trade representative of Ukraine,” Kachur said.
The expert emphasized the need for a particularly balanced government policy in the context of the global economic crisis, so that under the slogans of free movement of goods not to lose their own manufacturer and not to leave tens of thousands of Ukrainians without work.
“The established production capacity for the production of cement in Turkey is 140 million tonnes of cement per year. In Ukraine, this figure is more than 10 times less. Turkey’s own cement consumption is about 60 million tonnes. This means that an importer with such capacities that Turkey has, playing with price policy, can easily destroy the production of cement in Ukraine,” said Kachur.
He emphasized the effectiveness and efficiency of the Big Construction program in the fight against the crisis.
“This program has become a lifeline for the entire construction industry during the global economic crisis. In the event of the signing of an FTA agreement with Turkey, the funds allocated from the budget of Ukraine, the funds of Ukrainian taxpayers, will support the producers of the neighboring state, instead of supporting their own,” he said.
He stated that the cement industry in Ukraine is able to fully provide consumers with high-quality cement that is competitive in the European market.
“The cement industry is developing and modernizing. Billions of dollars are invested to maintain high quality products, reduce emissions, reduce CO2 emissions. In March 2021, the cement plant in Balakliya resumed clinker firing, the kilns of which were shut down by the former Russian owners for ten long years. This will further strengthen the ability of the cement industry of Ukraine to provide its own market with cement,” Kachur summed up.
The head of the Ukrcement association expressed hope that the manufacturers’ arguments will be heard.
In September 2020, the Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade launched an investigation into the import of Portland cement and clinker cement from Turkey to Ukraine.
The import of these items in 2019 increased nine times, and according to the results of January-August 2020 – 13 times compared to the same period of the previous year.
According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, in 2020 the volume of exports to Turkey decreased slightly – to $2.436 billion (by 7% compared to 2019), imports increased slightly – 2.415 (by 2.5%).
An agreement on political cooperation, free trade and strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland may commence on January 1, Deputy Minister of Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, Trade Representative of Ukraine Taras Kachka said.
“The agreement on political cooperation, free trade and strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been ratified. The British Parliament has already completed its procedure. So we are working ‘at full steam’ so that the agreement will commence from January 1,” Kachka wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
According to him, the agreement provides for the abolition of duties on industrial products, with the exception of fertilizers, electronics and cars.
“Small exceptions regarding fertilizers, electronics and cars may (but not necessarily will) be subject to a duty of no more than 1-2% over the next two years. And from 2023 there will be no duties on industrial products at all,” the trade representative said.
According to him, Brexit will also allow more flexibility in the anti-dumping and protective measures applied to Ukraine now. This applies to metallurgical products, hot-rolled products, sheet products and rods.
At the same time, all agricultural goods that are not subject to tariff quotas are exempt from duties, the trade representative said.