From the Honourable Ed Fast. This is Minister Fast’s second trade and development mission to Ukraine to promote trade and investment between Canada and Ukraine and is his first meeting with his new counterpart, Aivaras Abromavičius. This trip reinforces Canada’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in its pursuit of freedom, democracy and economic growth.
Canada is committed to being a strategic and supportive partner for Ukraine in a variety of sectors, including energy, mining, education, aerospace, and agriculture and agri-food.
Ukraine has been identified as a priority country under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, as well as a development country of focus under Canada’s Aid Effectiveness Agenda.
Since January 2014, the Government of Canada has announced over $315 million in assistance to Ukraine, which includes support for economic stabilization, democracy and human rights, humanitarian assistance and security.
In 2013, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Ukraine reached $322.3 million, up 2.8 percent over 2012.
A free trade agreement with Ukraine will contribute to its efforts to stabilize its economy and otherwise facilitate an expanded commercial relationship.
While in Ukraine, Minister Fast and Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Aivaras Abromavičius, issued the following statement:
“Our announcement today builds on the political commitment made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Petro Poroshenko during his historic visit to Canada last September to accelerate work on free trade negotiations.
“Canada has been at the forefront of the international community’s support for the Ukrainian people in their opposition to Russian aggression and the occupation of Ukraine. Canada and Ukraine have a deeply rooted historical relationship, and building a strong trade partnership is a high priority on our shared agenda.
“Therefore, we are pleased to announce that Canada and Ukraine are actively engaged in negotiations toward concluding a free trade agreement as soon as possible.
“Preparatory work is currently underway by our officials for a full round of face-to-face negotiations in Kyiv in the near future.
“The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement will be an ambitious and comprehensive agreement creating new market opportunities and predictable conditions for businesses, strengthening the Canada-Ukraine partnership in peace and prosperity.
“In light of the recent tragic events in Mariupol, Canada stands in full solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”