Ukraine and Canada sign free trade deal
Ukraine and Canada formally signed a free trade deal during a visit to Kiev by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau today.
The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA), which was signed by Canada’s minister of international trade Chrystia Freeland, Trudeau, Ukraine’s first vice prime minister and minister of economic development and trade Stepan Kubiv and Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman, aims to cut 98% of tariffs over the next seven years.
Trudeau said: “The CUFTA represents a significant milestone in the relationship between Canada and Ukraine.
“It will bolster our economies, spur innovation, and lead to long term benefits for the middle class and those working hard to join it.”
And Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of international trade, who also signed the agreement along with Stepan Kubiv, Ukraine’s first vice prime minister and minister of economic development and trade, added: “Canada and Ukraine know that trade is essential to jobs and growth.
“By improving market access and creating more predictable conditions for trade, the CUFTA will generate new opportunities for Canadians and Ukrainians alike.”
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko tweeted today: “Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement offers new opportunities for both nations.We will continue negotiations to expand scope of the agreement.”
“This extremely important document will raise trade and economic relations between our countries to a new level,” Kubiv wrote on his Facebook page.
And Groysman tweeted: “Congratulations! Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement signed!”
Canada is home to a sizeable Ukrainian minority and has been a key backer for Ukraine during the two-year separatist war in the east.
And with Trudeau just committed troops to a Nato mission in Latvia, in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine – Canada is seen as both a pivotal and personal ally for Ukraine.
CUFTA negotiations were concluded in July 2015 when both countries signed a draft trade agreement, which included provisions for the deepening of trade and economic cooperation, including trade in industrial and agricultural goods, intellectual property protection and regulation of public procurement.
Figures show that in 2015, bilateral trade between Canada and Ukraine increased by 13.9 per cent compared to 2014, totalling almost $278 million.
Canada’s exports to Ukraine totalled over $210 million in 2015 with products imported by Ukraine including pharmaceuticals, fish and seafood, and coking coal.
Canada’s merchandise imports from Ukraine totalled more than $67 million in 2015 with major imports including fertilizers, iron and steel, and anthracite coal.
Now that the agreement has been signed, it has to be ratified by both the countries’ parliaments before it can come into force.
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