The renewal of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine next year can give a new impetus to the development of the Ukrainian honey industry, strengthen the country’s position in the EU market and reduce its dependence on the supply of Chinese honey, which now forms about 40% of the total supplies in this direction, national consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Hanna Burka has said.
Now the Ukrainian honey market depends on supplies to the European Union, whose share in the total volume of Ukrainian honey exports exceeds 80% (in 2019 – 86%, in 2018 – 80%, in 2017 – 74% ). The EU countries are considered the largest honey importers in the world and about 40% of honey needs are met by imports, she said on her Facebook page.
“The signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, within the framework of which a deep and comprehensive free trade zone began to function, contributed to an increase in purchasing countries and an increase in the export of Ukrainian honey, and, accordingly, the flow of foreign exchange earnings into the country,” Burka wrote.
So, in 2017, Ukraine exported 47,100 tonnes of honey to the EU, in 2018 – 41,000 tonnes, and in 2019 – 45,000 tonnes.
“A year after the signing of the Agreement, the number of enterprises that had the right to supply honey to the markets of the European Union increased to 52, and by the end of 2019 it was 72,” the FAO consultant said.
In addition, the share of Ukraine in the import of honey to the EU countries also increased, if in 2013 it was 10%, then in 2019 it reached 22% (in 2018 – 20%, in 2017 – 23%). Accordingly, Ukraine became No. 2 supplier of honey to Europe, with China ahead.
“During the FTA, Ukrainian honey exporting companies are actively using the possibilities of duty-free tariff quotas. Both the main and additional preferential quotas for honey were used in the first days of the month. Despite the fact that the extra-quota volume is subject to an import duty of 17.3%, the export volumes of Ukrainian honey continue to increase. The current export volume is seven-eight times higher than the annual volume of the total quota, which confirms the interest of European partners in Ukrainian honey,” Burka said.
According to her, it is obvious that the current volume of the quota (in 2017, the main quota was 5,200 tonnes, in 2018 – 5,400 tonnes, in 2019 – 5,600 tonnes, in 2020 – 5,800 tonnes; additional 2,500 tonnes was not revised) does not suit both the demand of Europe and the possibilities of the Ukrainian honey industry.
“The next Ukraine-EU negotiations should be aimed at both increasing the duty-free quota and reducing customs tariffs. As an example, the EU-Mexico cooperation model can be used, for which the preferential quota is 30,000 tonnes at a rate of 8.6%,” said the expert.
PJSC Farmak pharmaceutical company (Kyiv) in April-July exported to the EU propofol, a medication that is used for artificial lung ventilation of patients with coronavirus (COVID-19), worth more than $635,000,
The company told Interfax-Ukraine that due to the shortage of this medication in the EU and its active use for treatment of COVID-19 patients the supplies of the medication were carried out without its registration at the EU’s profile agency, which is a mandatory condition for sale of drugs in Europe.
“Such an exclusion is connected with the crisis, and at the same time it shows the level of confidence in Ukrainian manufacturers and quality of their products,” the company said.
Political expert Volodymyr Volia has shared his opinion about development prospects of the EU, the economic situation today and the consequences of the pandemic, as well as made forecasts about the revival of the Schengen Area exclusively for the Expert Kitchen program on the Expert Club YouTube channel.
According to the expert, the EU has faced several unpleasant events lately, such as the Brexit referendum and the so-called coronavirus crisis, and if the second wave of the pandemic occurs, the recession may get even worse and trigger a social crisis, poverty and unemployment.
“As the economy of Europe has been seriously affected since February, we may witness even a longer halt that will ‘kill’ the economy of the EU,” Volia said.
He added that as of the middle of April alone the EU has sustained a loss of more than EUR 3 trillion, which equals the annual federal budget of the United States. The expert also forecasted the exacerbation of the argument between the EU member states on the allocation of sales quotas, which are especially important to the countries of the Eastern and Southeast Europe, assistance and contributions to the EU budget.
In the expert’s opinion, the revival prospects of the Schengen Area look more optimistic.
“I think the movement inside the Schengen Area will be completely resumed by the end of June. As to the states, which are not a part of this area, a piecemeal approach will be applied to them. The epidemiological situation in each specific country will be taken into account and the regions of the world will be determined for the simplification of the procedure. Certainly, everything will also depend on the purpose of travel,” he said.
Volia also noted that tourism in the non-Schengen countries will be revived almost in full by the beginning of July.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky declares that Ukraine seeks full membership in the European Union.
“Eastern Partnership shouldn’t limit the ambitions of its partners. For some, political dialogue or strategic partnership with EU is enough, some seek integration with the common market on the basis of 4 freedoms, but Ukraine seeks full membership of the EU,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
On June 18, the Eastern Partnership summit is held in video mode with the participation of the EU leadership, the heads of the Eastern Partnership states and the heads of all EU member states.
According to the presidential press service, the head of state reminded that from the beginning the goal of the initiative was to build the EU community with partners who share European values and principles. At the same time, the benefits of such an association should be enjoyed by all citizens of the countries – participants.
The president of Ukraine expressed confidence in the possibility of jointly overcoming the challenges of today, in particular the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, by deepening integration and increasing coordination between countries, rather than by political self-isolation and protectionism.
“This meeting is a great opportunity to discuss further cooperation to overcome the current crisis and overcome similar challenges in the future. We are facing very difficult tasks: to protect the lives and health of citizens, to restore people-to-people and business contacts, to bring the economy out of the crisis trajectory,” the president said.
The president also thanked the European Union for its support, in particular for the new EUR 1.2 billion macro-financial assistance program, which is important and timely.
In addition, according to Zelensky, Ukraine counts on cooperation with the EU in the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is produced.
The head of state noted that Ukraine, for its part, also supported European partners. In particular, Ukrainian medics came to the aid of Italian colleagues, and Ukrainian planes delivered medical supplies to many EU countries.
“I am sure that the slogan Stronger Together is more relevant today than ever,” the president of Ukraine said.
Some 46.1% of Ukrainians believe that the country should strive to join the European Union, 13.1% in the Eurasian Economic Union, while 28.3% do not want Ukraine to join any economic alliances.
Those are the results of a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) from April 26 to April 30 and presented at the Interfax-Ukraine agency.
Survey results show 41.9% of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine should strive to be a NATO member, 34.7% – a neutral state and 12% – a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
If offered U.S. or EU citizenship, 27.1% said they would leave the country to live there, while 65.1% would remain in Ukraine. Only 6.3% said they would leave for Russia. Some 86.3% said they would refuse to relocate to Russia. Offered a “bonus” of $100,000, 11.2% of respondents said they would move there.
The KIIS survey was conducted from April 26 to April 30, 2020 using the CATI method (computer-assisted telephone interviews) based on a random selection of mobile phone numbers. Some 1,500 interviews were included in the survey.
The sample is representative of the adult population of Ukraine (aged 18 years and older). It does not include Russia-occupied areas in Donbas and Crimea. The statistical error of the sample (with a probability of 0.95 and without taking into account the design effect) does not exceed 2.6% for indicators close to 50%, 2.2% for indicators close to 25%, 1.7% for indicators close to 10% and 1.1% – for indicators close to 5%.
Ukraine has strengthened its position in the EU organic market and, according to the results of 2019, took the second place out of 123 countries exporting organic food to the EU, having risen two positions compared to the previous year, OrganicInfo portal has reported, citing the European Commission’s annual report titled “EU Imports of Organic Agri-Food Products: Key Developments in 2019.”
According to the report, in 2019, 3.24 million tonnes of organic agri-food products were imported into the EU, more than 10% of which came from Ukraine. According to the results of last year, Ukrainian exports to the EU increased by 27%, to 337,860 tonnes. Mostly Ukraine supplied the EU with cereals (including wheat, excluding rice) with 76.9% of cereals were Ukrainian origin, wheat (31.8%), oilseeds (except soy, 18.2%), soy (13%), and fruits (11%). Ukraine is also among the largest exporters of oilcake, fruit juices and vegetables, which are key export products.
OrganicInfo said that in 2018, Ukraine ranked fourth in terms of organic exports to the EU, being behind China, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.