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RIGA - “Ukraine is carrying out major reforms, which will provide important support for business activities in our country,” said visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich at the Latvian-Ukrainian Business Forum held on Dec. 15, reports news agency LETA. As a particularly good prospect for cooperation, Yanukovich mentioned the establishment of logistics centers in order to expand the exports of both countries.
Yanukovich emphasized that major reforms are being carried out in state administration, thus making it more effective, and thorough control in the judicial system is ensured and corruption risks are lessened. The tax system is being made much more progressive and more business-friendly with a smaller administrative burden and less monitoring by supervisory institutions. Society is also changing, it is becoming more open and involved in state processes, he says.
In speaking about future economic cooperation, Yanukovych pointed out that Ukraine is interested in cooperation with Latvia. “You are in the Baltic Sea region, we, in the Black Sea region,” said Yanukovich, emphasizing the necessity to establish joint logistics centers.
Transport logistics centers are interesting; however, it is also possible to transport energy resources, and already in 2011 we could be delivering oil to Latvia, said the president. He also added that both countries may have common interests in the sector of electrical power engineering because next year, in Ukraine, many major investment projects concerning the building of a nuclear power plant will be started.
Latvian President Zatlers also addressed the forum. He emphasized that in the present difficult economic circumstances, relations between Latvia and Ukraine are an important factor in solving the problems at hand so far. Yanukovich’s visit to Latvia is a testament to the successful cooperation between both countries. Zatlers also believes that the new Latvian-Ukrainian trade agreement will substantially foster development of economic ties.
More specifically, they both mentioned fostering economic cooperation between both countries in transit, logistics, IT, construction and industrial manufacturing. “Now, when the countries are overcoming the economic breakdown, our attention is directed towards the fostering of economic cooperation within the context of Latvia as a member state of the European Union,” Zatlers pointed out at the press conference. He added that it is possible for Latvia to follow the example of Ukrainian reforms in state administration, where Ukraine has bold plans which have been already set in motion.
Yanukovich thanked the Latvian president for his hospitality and pointed out that the most important part of the discussion was Ukraine’s movement towards EU membership. He is convinced that Latvia will support Ukraine in this process.
Zatlers pointed out that Latvia is enjoying the advantage of the Common European Economic Space and that “we are ready to assist Ukraine with harmonization of standards and legislation, so that Ukraine would also gain access to it.”
Yanukovich pointed out that Ukraine this summer adopted a law that provides for Ukraine’s integration in Europe. Ukraine also keeps pragmatic relations with Russia as the intensity of economic cooperation between Ukraine and Russia increases.
Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Girts Valdis Kristovskis (Unity), and Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Konstantin Grischenko, during the visit signed a Memorandum of Agreement between the foreign ministries of both countries on cooperation in European integration. Kristovskis expressed Latvia’s support to Ukraine’s European integration course.
The Memorandum provides for Latvia, within the framework of cooperation with EU and Ukraine, will share with Ukraine its experience in European integration. The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will support the Ukrainian side in its talks on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which includes the creation of an all-inclusive and in-depth free-trade zone.
Latvia will also support the introduction of the program to strengthen Ukrainian institutions, and will also back Ukrainian diplomats and other officials on European integration in their experience exchange visits to Latvia.
An international agreement on transit through Latvian ports was also signed, which will contribute to the development of the Baltic Sea-Black Sea transit corridor, said Zatlers. The agreement on cooperation in health care and medical sciences was also signed, as well as the agreement on cooperation in defense.