It is possible that the Parliament of Canada will ratify Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement at its current session. This is the opinion by Paul Darby, the Canadian co-chair of Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support project (CUTIS). He supervises the activities within the international technical assistance project aimed at increasing trade among Ukraine and Canada. The project entered its active phase after the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement had been signed in July with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau involved.
Paul Darby: Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement was signed in summer 2016, and this is a clear indicator of how Canada treats economic relations with Ukraine.
We hope that the Parliament of Canada will ratify the Agreement in the course of the current parliamentary session, and we expect the same from the Ukrainian side.
Iryna Slavinska: Why has the Agreement been concluded? Is Ukraine such a promising economic partner?
Paul Darby: Yes, Ukraine is a bright example of a good country for Canadian investments. One should also remember about a huge Ukrainian minority in Canada that creates a lot of social and economic links among the countries.
Iryna Slavinska: It is obvious that signing of an agreement between Canada and Ukraine has a political dimension, isn’t it?
Paul Darby: Canada has always supported Ukraine; in particular, it was the first country to recognize independence of Ukraine, therefore, these links were always strong.
Iryna Slavinska: Can we predict any numbers regarding benefits Canada may get as a result of the Agreement signed with Ukraine?
Paul Darby: We have conducted an in-depth analysis survey regarding the impact of the Agreement over the economy of Ukraine. It has showed that the Trade Agreement will affect Ukraine’s GDP, taxes, jobs. There will be increase in jobs for Ukrainians related, in our opinion, to Canada’s investments to Ukraine. When we check similar Canada’s agreements with other countries, we see that it there is always a sharp increase in investments. And when the investments rise that high, they will stay at this level. We hope that it is just this sharp increase in investments that will occur in Ukraine.
The number of jobs for Ukrainians will increase due to Canada’s investments to Ukraine
Iryna Slavinska: What are the Canadian goods that may be interesting and competitive in Ukraine and will Ukrainian products be able to win their respectable share so that to be present on Canadian supermarkets’ shelves?
Paul Darby: It is semi-finished goods, clothes, pumping machinery, various hardware, washing machines that may be interesting for Canada. In other words, we try to seek the goods with added value instead of focusing on raw materials.
We are also confident that Ukrainian confectionary goods and footwear will be popular at Canada market; they are highly competitive products.
Recently we also observe the growth in Canada’s demand for Ukraine’s IT services.
Our project funded by the Government of Canada will focus on the commodities and services like these with potential to be popular in Canada. But we shall be open to all companies. That means that, irrespective of your being selected or not for the final short list of the goods in the highest demand in Canada, the CUTIS project will be happy to provide you with assistance in terms of finding partners, buyers, trade fairs, clarifications on Canada’s regulations, etc.
This is a technical assistance project, and we shall be trying to reduce poverty in Ukraine by means of supporting, primarily, small and medium enterprises as they constitute the driver for the economy.
Iryna Slavinska: I have talked with some experts, and they underscore that Ukraine’s IT industry exports mostly raw staff –not the ready products.
Paul Darby: Yes, this is true. However, within the frame of our project we shall be seeking not only the companies that produce just coding for abroad; we shall be looking for those who develop ready products – specific applications and alike.
Iryna Slavinska: You have mentioned that you would provide support for small and medium enterprises, particularly in terms of opening access to the list of promising manufacturers or partners. Is there any procedure how it will work? What should an advice-seeker do?
Paul Darby: Our project has a representative office in Kyiv; you can find us on Facebook – CUTIS account; there is also the web site. Using these channels you may approach us with questions, particularly, Ihor Sanzharovsky, the Project Director in Ukraine.
The short-listed companies will be provided not just with advice. We are going to bring consultants from Canada so that they will hold training sessions with the selected companies to prepare their products for the Canadian market in cooperation with us. That means joint work to develop packaging, elaborate marketing strategies and the steps to meet Canadian standards.
The companies working in the selected areas will be even provided with an opportunity to visit Canada or USA.
Iryna Slavinska: What are the eligibility criteria for the companies to be short-listed?
Paul Darby: First, we are going to conduct a general analysis of the products and services, which may be interesting for Canada. Then we shall pick top-5 of products and services. The next step is that within this range of goods and services we are going to transparently choose the companies that will participate in our project.
The requirements to these companies will include the capacity to supply adequate volumes of goods for the Canada market. We shall also check whether the products of a company meet the environmental protection standards. The companies owned by women will be particularly focused by our project.
Iryna Slavinska: When should we expect that the Agreement will be ratified?
Paul Darby: It is a hard question; however, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement’s ratification is in the agenda of the Canada’s Parliament’s current session. The session meetings will be over by April-May 2017. We hope to see the Agreement ratified till Christmas.
Source: Hromadske Radio