Nicholas Burge, the head of Trade and Economic Section of the Delegation of the EU to Ukraine spoke of the success and challenges in cooperation between the EU and Ukraine within the acting FTA during the 2nd International Trade and Industry Conference of Free Trade Area on December 1 – 2.
He expressed hope for easing of economic situation in Ukraine, underlining that Ukraine is moving the right direction bolstering relations of business and government, increasing competitiveness of national goods on the international markets.
He also informed that the Delegation of the EU to Ukraine has the intention to open 15 support centers for small and medium export-orientated business in the regions of Ukraine in 2017.
He also underlined that the issue of additional quotas and procedures approval is being discussed with the EU member states and the European Parliament.
In his exclusive comments to 112.international Mr. Burge stressed that his main task is to help European businesses here in Ukraine after the official part of the conference.
"I’ve seen lots of companies across the whole country that are being successful in exporting in furniture sector, fruit sector… It’s not easy they have to always go through and make the right certification, the right standards… But it’s possible for every Ukrainian company. Sometimes I see that people have a sort of inferiority complex here. Of course Ukrainian companies can compete with all the companies in the EU. We are not so much better, really. But if, on the other hand, selling a product as a Ukrainian product, then there is a problem, I think. Because in the minds of Europeans… What they see on the television is always negative stories. They hear about the war, about different protests in Kyiv, and recently Chernobyl again was in the news. So unfortunately the image is going into people about Ukraine is still not good. I think the government would do more to try to promote image. But when it comes to Ukrainian products the buyers really don’t care where the product comes from if it is the right quality and of it is a reliable supplier. This reliability is very important," Nicholas Burge said to 112.international.
Apart from that, he is very positive about the Dutch ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association agreement.
"Firstly the message which we have from the EU’s Summit is that the Dutch have found the way now to ratify. There will be a meeting of the European Council. So in couple weeks in Brussels the heads of states, we hope, will agree the protocol for the Dutch only which does not change agreement or the implementation, but it helps to somehow satisfy the Dutch government and the Dutch parliament that they have listened to the referendum which took place in the Netherlands and that would allow them to ratify. We are more positive that this is going to be a successful outcome now than we were few weeks ago. It still has to be done," Nicholas Burge commented.
Burge believes that the fact of ratification shouldn’t influence, because the agreement has been implemented provisionally anyway since the 1st of January.
"And really provisionally implementation means 99% full implementation until the ratification takes place. And even if the ratification still takes some time, provisionally implementation continues. I think it is the most important thing to make sure Ukraine is doing what it is asked to do, what it has committed to do," summarized Mr. Burge.