Ukraine and Turkey are considering the meeting of the Strategic Council between Ukraine and Turkey co-chaired by both presidents in February 2022 as an opportunity to sign a free trade agreement (FTA), Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.
“Next year, Ukraine and Turkey will celebrate 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. To mark this occasion, we plan to hold the next session of the Strategic Council between Ukraine and Turkey under the co-chairmanship of both presidents. A number of agreements and documents are currently being prepared ahead of next year’s Strategic Council. Both sides see the February 2022 meeting as an opportunity to finally sign a long-awaited Turkish-Ukrainian free trade agreement following years of negotiations,” Kuleba wrote in an article for the Atlantic Council released on Thursday.
Once in force, he said, this free trade deal will significantly boost already strong trade ties between the two Black Sea countries and facilitate the establishment of new business links.
“With bilateral trade steadily growing, we also plan to hold a joint intergovernmental trade and economic commission in the near future,” Kuleba said.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister also said that Ukraine and Turkey are developing plans to unite forces in the production of Ukrainian Antonov aircraft.
“Our Turkish friends were very impressed with the capabilities of Ukrainian Antonov aircraft for extinguishing fires. During the last meeting with my Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Lviv in October 2021, he expressed Turkey’s interest in Antonov aircraft. Ukraine welcomes this interest and is ready to explore the possibilities of joint aircraft production Antonov and international exports,” the minister said.
Kuleba said that with the climate crisis escalating, the threat of wildfires in Turkey and dozens of other countries around the globe looks like it is here to stay, along with increased demand for firefighting aviation.
“This makes the proposed aviation industry cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine strategically appealing. We plan to discuss this topic in more depth during our next Quadriga meeting of foreign and defense ministers, which will take place in December 2021 in Ankara,” he said.
Ukraine and Turkey are at the final stage of negotiations on a free trade area (FTA) after large moves made in the negotiation process, First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy Oleksiy Liubchenko said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
“By the way, negotiations on an agreement on FTA with Turkey are now almost on completing. There have been significant positive moves in the negotiations,” he said.
Liubchenko also said that Ukraine had carried out preparatory work for negotiations with Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
Speaking about other areas of work of the Ministry of Economy in terms of international trade, he noted the unblocking of the work of the interdepartmental commission with Kazakhstan, following the meeting of which the ministry receives feedback from the parties.
“We are also systematically working with China, coordinated by Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna. We have begun a joint study of the possibility of a free trade area agreement. The results will be known next year. On this basis, a political decision will be made whether to start negotiations. We are also actively working on preparations for negotiations with Indonesia and Vietnam,” he said.
Next week Turkey is ready to receive a Ukrainian delegation to finalize the technical aspects of the draft agreement on a free trade area (FTA) between the countries, Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Muş said.
“Our delegations have already fruitfully worked on the agreement. And next week we are ready to host a delegation from Ukraine to finalize the technical aspects of the draft agreement,” the press service of the Economy Ministry of Ukraine said, citing Muş, following his videoconference with First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksiy Liubchenko on Monday.
The Turkish minister said the delegations should intensify their work and in the near future submit a draft agreement on an FTA between the two countries.
“We have several positions left where we must find a balance in our trade relations. It should be noted that during the negotiations with our Turkish colleagues we came to constructive and progressive solutions that will allow us to protect domestic markets where necessary and prepare an agreement, which will contribute to the deepening of trade relations and the development of the economies of our countries,” Liubchenko said.
According to the Economy Ministry, the videoconference was held following a phone conversation between President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
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%).
Ukraine and Turkey intend to prepare a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement for the meeting of the High Level Strategic Council of Ukraine and Turkey in 2020, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba has said. “We are really determined to hold the next meeting of the Strategic Council of our presidents this year and want to fill it with maximum content. And, of course, the FTA agreement is one of those tasks that should already be consecrated by our leaders,” Kuleba said after a joint meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister at a press conference in Antalya on Friday.
The foreign minister said that at the moment Ukraine is waiting for a certain positional document from the Turkish side in order to continue consultations on this issue.
“Of course, the potential of our trade is phenomenal. I can sincerely tell you that Turkish goods can be found in any store of any region of Ukraine… Unfortunately, Ukrainian goods are not yet represented on the Turkish market, but we also have a lot of things, what Turkish consumers and buyers will benefit from. And we can open this potential, achieve a fair and mutually beneficial balance in trade, and bring our trade to a new horizon by signing the FTA agreement. And today, my colleague and I agreed that we will apply maximum efforts in order to positively resolve this issue,” the Ukrainian minister said.
According to him, Ukrainian and Turkish experts involved in trade will continue negotiations on this issue, but political leaders, ministers of foreign affairs and trade of both countries will be ready to take part in them to settle the issues that will seem insoluble at the expert level.
“There is political will of both sides now to resolve all issues and reach a result, I emphasize, in the interests of business and economies, both Ukrainian and Turkish,” Kuleba added.
Ukraine and Canada will work on deepening economic cooperation and expansion of the bilateral free trade area (FTA) agreement to the sphere of services and investments, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. “Trade, economic and investment cooperation have an important place in Ukrainian-Canadian relations, and we would like to strengthen it. Therefore, our sides will work to expand the scope of the bilateral free trade area agreement to services and investments,” he said in Toronto on Tuesday at a joint briefing with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after their meeting.
Zelensky said that in the near future these agreements will be translated into documents.
“This means that Ukrainian IT specialists and entrepreneurs from different industries will be able to better cooperate with Canada without leaving Ukraine. This means more jobs, better relations between our countries,” he said.