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Politician: Cooperation with post-Soviet trade bloc can rescue Ukraine’s economy

August 10, 2016, 18:42 UTC+3 KIEV

According to Ukrainian opposition leader Medvedchuk, country’s industry is in tatters without cooperation with Russia and member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union

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Viktor Medvedchuk

Viktor Medvedchuk

© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

KIEV, August 10. /TASS/. Ukraine’s benefits from a free trade deal with the European Union have proved to be a myth while the country’s industry is in tatters without cooperation with Russia and member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a Ukrainian opposition leader said on Wednesday.

"After two years of the Eurointegration hysteria and the tales by Euroreformers that the western vector of foreign economic integration is the sole option that has no alternative, Kiev has finally started to realize: benefits from the free trade zone with the EU are no more than a myth," leader of the Ukrainian

Choice public movement Viktor Medvedchuk said in an article posted on the movement’s website.

"Harsh Eurointegration realities have forced Ukrainian industrialists and agrarians to forget once and forever about the expansion to European markets promised by Ukrainian officials. Benefits from the free trade area with the EU have turned out to be illusory while ‘the promising and capacious’ European market has proved to be inaccessible to Ukrainian commodity producers," the article said.

In this situation, the Ukrainian authorities are trying to find partners in West Africa or in South America or in Korea and China, and "are creating a free trade zone with Canada," Medvedchuk said.

"It will suffice to mention the new ‘Silk Road,’ which was much advertised by the Yatsenyuk government but has actually proved to be 65% more expensive than a similar route through Russia," the Ukrainian politician said.

Now Kiev has started to talk about the potential of trade with Indonesia and Malaysia, he added.

However, "there is no guarantee that the creation of a new free trade zone with the far-off Asian countries won’t turn out to be a bluff," Medvedchuk said.

"At the same time, Ukrainian officials are refusing to recognize the need of domestic agrarians and industrialists for developing cooperation with businesses in Russia. According to data of the State Fiscal Service, Ukraine delivered products worth $1.884 billion to Russia in January-July compared with $67.4 million worth of goods sent to Malaysia. And these deliveries were made despite a war of sanctions, prohibitive measures and restrictions, which Kiev safeguards so actively," the leader of the Ukrainian movement said, citing statistics.

The Ukrainian politician also mentioned the benefits previously enjoyed by Ukraine from trade and economic cooperation with Russia.

"Thus, Ukraine’s annual exports to Russia exceeded $15 billion in 2013 and $17.6 billion in 2012! It is absolutely obvious that neither a free trade zone with the EU nor a free trade zone with Canada nor a free trade zone with Indonesia will help Ukraine compensate for the Russian sales market. The industry is dying out without Russian orders," the Ukrainian politician said.

"Cooperation with the EAEU could become a rescue for the Ukrainian economy," Medvedchuk said.

"However, official Kiev is refusing in every possible way from this step. Unfortunately, Ukrainian politicians lack the understanding of economic processes and strategic thinking, as well as the political will for making necessary decisions," Medvedchuk said.

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