KIEV, January 4. /TASS/. Ukraine has become a raw materials colony for wealthy European states as the free trade zone with the European Union has brought about nothing but losses for the Ukrainian economy, Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement, said on Thursday.
"We [Ukraine] have lost 20% of our industrial production. The structure of our economy has changed dramatically," Medvedchuk cited Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade and the country’s trade representative Natalia Mikolskaya.
"Here we are - only after two years of losses and discrimination, Kiev has finally agreed to recognize: the free trade zone with the European Union had brought about failures and losses for Ukraine," he wrote on his blog on the movement’s website.
Citing Mikolskaya, Medvedchuk noted that Ukraine had only managed to regain its 2013 positions in terms of exports to the European Union. "Whereas in January-November 2013 Ukraine’s exports to the European Union stood at about 15 billion US dollars, in January-November 2017 (or over almost two years of the free trade zone) it reached 15.9 billion US dollars. But this miserable growth in trade with the EU is canceled out by overall export decrease. In January-November 2017, Ukraine’s exports shrank by 45.5% on the same period in 2013," he noted.
According to Medvedchuk, over the past two years Ukraine has turned into a raw materials colony for wealthy European states. "The free trade zone with the EU has killed Ukraine’s entire high-precision sector. Our country exports to Europe mostly raw materials and low-processed products. The economy has been de-industrialized, enterprises are idling, unemployment is on the rise," he stressed.
In his words, the only way to prevent an economic collapse is to change the vector of the country’s foreign economic integration. "Resumption of cooperation ties and trade-and-economic cooperation with the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, with Russia in particular, will become a driving force that would bring our economy out of the crisis and ensure its sustainable and steady growth, like it was back in 2004 when Ukraine’s economy was reputed as one of the most promising ones on the post-Soviet space," he stressed, adding that one of the most negative outcomes of 2017 was growing de-industrialization of the country.