On Monday, March 20, the UK signed a significant digital trade agreement with Ukraine, aiming to support Ukraine’s economy and bolster the UK-Ukraine trade and investment relationship. The Department for Business and Trade hosted a conference called the Road to Ukraine Recovery Conference, which welcomed a number of Ukrainian ministers and 200 UK and international businesses and officials to lay the groundwork for future cooperation.
The agreement was virtually signed by UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP, alongside Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Yulia Svyrydenko. This agreement is a landmark deal that will help Ukraine support its economy through the current crisis and lay the foundations for its recovery and revival. The UK negotiators have been working at a record pace with their Ukrainian counterparts since June 2022, following President Zelenskyy’s call to action for a digitally focused trade agreement to boost the country’s economy.
The DTA removes barriers to digital trade, enabling partnership initiatives and collaborative working to be delivered more effectively. It further enhances the acceleration of economic recovery through the faster delivery of critical infrastructure reconstruction projects by implementing better processes and standards. Ukraine will have guaranteed access to the financial services crucial for reconstruction efforts through the deal’s facilitation of cross-border data flows. Ukrainian businesses will also be able to trade more efficiently and cheaply with the UK through electronic transactions, e-signatures, and e-contracts.
In addition, the UK has pledged over £4 billion in total military, humanitarian, and economic support since 24 February 2022. The UK is a key partner for Ukraine in its reconstruction efforts, hosting the UK-Ukraine Infrastructure Summit in June 2022, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to play a leading role in the reconstruction of Kyiv Oblast, and setting up the Infrastructure Taskforce to implement this agreement.
Moreover, the UK confirmed its intention to extend the removal of tariffs on Ukrainian products until March 2024, following the UK’s world-leading decision in May 2022 to cut tariffs on all goods from Ukraine to zero. This will provide much-needed support to Ukrainian businesses given the impact of the war on Ukraine’s ability to export goods. The UK continues to support Ukraine through decisive sanctions against Russia, and the UK and its allies have imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia, including on £20 billion (96%) of UK-Russia goods trade from 2021.
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