ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Ukraine Volodymyr Lakomov has said that trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and Ukraine is increasing with the passage of time and Pakistani investors may benefit from free trade regime between Ukraine and European Union (EU).
In an exclusive interview with Customs Today, Lakomov said that in 2016, according to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the volume of trade between Pakistan and Ukraine was $161.9 million, with export of goods amounting to $114.3 million (3 percent increase compared to the same period of the last year) and import of goods remained $47.628 million (77.7 percent to the same period of the last year). Positive balance for Ukraine was $66.674 million.
He further said that for the year 2016, Ukrainian exported agricultural and dairy products, vegetables, grain, as well as nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, ferrous metal etc. The main products imported by Ukraine were textile items, cotton, citrus fruits, rice, plastic and polymers.
According to the official statistics, the volume of the Ukrainian export of services to Pakistan was $2.178 million. For the year 2016 Pakistani import of services amounted to almost $1 million.
Volodymyr Lakomov said that with an objective of enhancing bilateral economic cooperation between Pakistan and Ukraine, embassy was working on creating inter-governmental mechanism to integrating the trade and investment promotion in both the countries and one of the major achievement was the two bilateral agreements he had signed and they are operational on trade and economic cooperation. It includes the provision of creating of inter-governmental Pakistani-Ukrainian Commission on Economic Cooperation, Scientific Cooperation and Cooperation in Agricultural sector.
Another important agreement, he said that was on mutual avoidance of double taxation and it was very important for increasing the tune of businesses and right now we are working on conclusion of mutual protection of investments agreement. This agreement will be have laws for the protection of investments of Pakistani and Ukrainian businessmen. It will facilitate the exchange of Pakistani and Ukrainian business delegations. This year we witnessed exchange of a large number of business delegations from both the countries. These are important because we must know each other to promote bilateral business and investments.
Ambassador said that at present three major products including Pakistani basmati rice, kinoos and textile products can have good response in Ukrainian markets. I can mention some Ukrainian products such as Sunflower oil, agricultural products, chocolates, candies, energy equipment, steel, fertilizers, grains and others.
He maintained that it was a very simple procedure to register a business in Ukraine and Pakistani businessmen could be attracted because of free trade with Europe which was very important for outreaching the Ukrainian businesses. It is very important that Ukraine will have free trade regime with neighbors and already we have free trade regime with former Soviet Republics and we are negotiating free trade regime with Turkey, our southern neighbor and from June this year, we are in full scale free trade agreement with Canada.
“So practically, there are huge opportunities for both the foreign and Ukrainian businesses in Ukraine and we invite investors from all over the world especially from Pakistan to invest in Ukraine and use these opportunities offered by Ukrainian government through Ukrainian reforms” he added.
To a question about taxation system in Ukraine, Ambassador Volodymyr Lakomov said that his government had realized a great range of economic reforms; mostly these reforms are facilitating in opening businesses in Ukraine, right now there is no difference between the Ukrainian and foreign businessmen so it can take only couple of days for starting business in Ukraine.
Also some reforms were realized in the area of taxation; streamlining the taxation system, betterment of business climate, you may follow the changed international economic indicators of Ukraine, banking system, and very important anti-corruption reforms; eliminating the all kind of corruption from the business.
Therefore, he said that right Now Ukraine was one of the leading country which provided a cleaning of any kind of influence of corruption of authorities and it provided a jump to Ukrainian rating. Pakistani businessmen may also benefit from the changing geographical importance of Ukraine because from September 01, 2017, Ukraine is in a deep and comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Europe; Free Trade Zone Plus and it provides freedom of movement, facilitation of businesses, transaction of Ukrainian and EU legal systems, adaptation of European laws to Ukrainians, business climate and many others.