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28 Aug, 2023 16:55

Kiev and London mulling free-trade deal, report claims

Proposed bilateral agreement reportedly would come into force after the conflict in Ukraine ends
Kiev and London mulling free-trade deal, report claims

The UK and Ukraine have been discussing the possibility of a free-trade agreement between the countries, British outlet inews reported on Monday, citing sources in the Ukrainian government.

According to the report, the deal is expected to build on the Digital Trade Agreement London and Kiev signed in March this year. It covered trade in digital goods and aimed to smooth flows of cross-border data between the two countries, allowing Ukrainian businesses to trade more efficiently and cheaply with the UK through electronic transactions, e-signatures, and e-contracts.

The new agreement under discussion will reportedly cover physical trade, including food exports and consumer goods, as well as services. It is also expected to give UK manufacturers an opportunity to open businesses in Ukraine on better terms and allow both Ukrainians and Brits easier access to job opportunities in both countries.

Apart from the potential trade deal, the report claims that London and Kiev are actively discussing the UK’s role in the reconstruction of Ukraine’s towns and cities after the conflict with Russia ends. Sources told the news outlet that British firms will be Kiev’s first choice for reconstruction projects.

“This war will be over and … we will rebuild our nation bigger and better than it was even before the war. For this we will need help from our international friends and the UK will be at the top of the list when we are looking for help with this rejuvenation,” a source close to President Vladimir Zelensky was cited as saying.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Denis Shmygal, is reportedly already in talks with London regarding the introduction of a procurement process for UK companies to bid for post-conflict construction contracts.

“It’s no secret Ukraine wants to be a full member of the EU. But for the UK that is not what its people voted for. This means we can negotiate with the UK directly and make bilateral agreements that help both our nations,” a source close to Shmygal was cited as saying.

According to estimates from the World Bank released in March this year, Ukraine will require around $411 billion to repair the damage resulting from the conflict with Russia.

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