27 june 2012

Dmitry Medvedev attends a meeting of the Economic Cooperation Committee of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission

“Ukraine has joined the list of Russia’s major trading partners, and that is absolutely normal in my view. This is Ukraine’s rightful place.”

Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks:

Mr Azarov, committee members, ladies and gentlemen.

There are many people here today. I did not expect the committee to be so numerous. But most importantly, our concerted efforts must be translated into concrete results.    

Today we are holding the ninth meeting of the committee. Our committee has not met for more than a year. The eighth meeting was held in Moscow on June 7, 2011. We have just agreed with Mr Azarov that we should meet more often and that we will meet this year again (we will discuss the terms, and decide on the date) in the second half of the year – probably in Russia.  

We have seen the number of problems grow recently, and these problems need a solution. Meanwhile there are some positive results, which the Ukrainian side has just reported. I’m sure that we will be able to have a constructive discussion of these various issues at this meeting. The most important thing is that we don’t just sit in the beautiful hall and look at each other, but that we use this visit of the Russian delegation to have a comprehensive exchange of opinions among all committee participants, all ministers and department heads. Some of our colleagues know each other, and those who do not will get to know each other – this is another goal of this meeting of the committee, because we have a new Russian government.

We should discuss cooperation in trade and the economy, industry, power, transport, agriculture, the space and aircraft sectors – generally all issues that we always discuss.

Trade, as noted, has indeed reached record levels: Ukraine has joined the list of Russia’s major trading partners, and that is absolutely normal in my view. This is Ukraine’s rightful place. I’ll just cite some figures that perhaps are not very well known: last year our trade with China was $83 billion, Germany $71 billion, Netherlands $68 billion, and the next position is held by Ukraine. This is good company. These are serious economic ties, as you surely realise. 

Nevertheless, this year the bilateral trade growth rate began to decline. There are clear reasons for this, and so I propose that we jointly analyse the current situation. All of us are subject to the current economic situation, we realise the extent of its complexity. We have our own domestic challenges and our own domestic solutions. Since Russia joined the WTO, the configuration of our relations has naturally changed. It is important to see through to the end the procedures needed to enact the Agreement on the Free Trade Zone in the CIS which was signed in St Petersburg last year. We hope that ratification by all participants will contribute to good economic relations.    

I hope that we will work in this manner now; meanwhile top-level meetings are scheduled this year too. The next meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission will be held soon; and our committee should operate on a permanent basis and not sporadically.

Thank you for this chance to speak. Let’s get to work.

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After the committee meeting, Dmitry Medvedev continued his talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

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