NATIONAL

Ukrainian economy upbeat with strong growth in IT, agriculture

By Joel Lee
  • Published : Sept 17, 2018 - 16:50
  • Updated : Sept 17, 2018 - 19:08

Ukraine is progressing steadily by reforming its economy and aligning itself closer to the European Union, the country’s top envoy to Korea said, noting the Eastern European nation looks to engage South Korea for a future-oriented partnership.

“Our country, with our new armed forces, is emerging stronger from its conflict with Russia, our economy is boosted by modernization reforms and the association agreement with the European Union, and our society is aware of its goals and existential choices,” said Ukrainian Ambassador to Korea Olexander Horin at a reception in Seoul on Sept. 11.

The event marked the Ukraine’s 27th anniversary of independence and 100th anniversary of national liberation. 

Ukrainian Ambassador to Korea Olexander Horin (Embassy of Ukraine)

“Through the ages, we have fought hard to preserve our identity and culture,” he added, stressing the nation faced grave challenges, particularly “military aggression from the Russian Federation -- a nuclear armed state that trampled its partnership commitments and principles of international law.”

“Step by step,” the envoy underscored, “we are cutting old ropes that enveloped our freedom-loving Ukrainian soul.”

He also expressed his appreciation to the Korean government and other nations for supporting the United Nations Assembly Resolution respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which rebuked Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Kiev voluntarily denuclearized by dismantling what was the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal through the Budapest Declaration of 1994. Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States signed a memorandum to provide Kiev with security assurances in return for its accession to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a nonnuclear weapon state.

“That’s why Ukraine is a strong supporter of peaceful reconciliation and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” said Horin. 

According to World Bank, the Ukrainian economy grew 2.3 percent in 2016, 2.5 percent last year and is expected to register 3.5 percent growth this year -- a remarkable turnaround from 2015, when its economy shrank by nearly 10 percent.

The nation’s global economic rankings have improved considerably, the diplomat said, pointing to indices measuring the ease of doing business, innovation and logistics performances.

Last year, Ukraine’s information technology sector grew by 20 percent and agricultural production by 17 percent, he underlined, adding that energy, manufacturing and infrastructure development sectors remained competitive and attractive to foreign investments.

Touching on bilateral relations, Horin noted that Ukraine was included in Korea’s Northern Economic Cooperation strategy, and in April, its First Vice Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv visited Seoul to boost bilateral trade and investment.

“To further enhance our ties with the Republic of Korea, we strongly expect the Korean side to abolish its visa regime for Ukrainians. Removing artificial barriers between our societies is a step in the right direction for furthering our cooperation.”

Kiev and Seoul established diplomatic relations in 1992.

“Ukraine is well-known to us as an agricultural powerhouse, the world’s breadbasket with its vast terrain and fertile black soil,” said Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yun Kang-hyeon. “Ukraine, however, is also a leader in space technology and aeronautics. The country designs and manufactures its own space launch vehicles and has conducted numerous joint projects with Korea, including a satellite launch.”

With over 200,000 IT employees, Yun noted, Ukraine is the world’s third-largest outsourcing hub after India and China, and also has a globally competitive software sector.

“In particular, our two countries are strengthening future-oriented cooperation in information communications technology,” the Korean diplomat said. “Established in Kiev in 2009, Samsung Electronics’ research and development center employs some 600 Ukrainian IT professionals, being a model of bilateral IT cooperation.”

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)