Canada, Ukraine announce 'milestone' free trade agreement


Ottawa (AFP) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally announced a "milestone" free trade agreement Tuesday with Ukraine, as its Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visited Ottawa.

The agreement, which still must be ratified by both nations' parliaments, will be implemented as soon as possible, Harper said in a statement.

With more than a million inhabitants claiming roots in Ukraine, Canada has made multiple supportive moves with Kiev since the 2014 revolution and Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

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Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks on July 13, 2015 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

The agreement is expected to grow the Canadian GDP by Can$29.2 million (US$22.9 million) and Ukraine's GDP by Can$18.6 million, according to evaluations by the Canadian government.

"Today's conclusion of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement is another milestone in the important relationship between our two countries," Harper said.

Canada will eliminate tariffs on 99 percent of imports from Ukraine and increase exports to Ukraine by Can$41.2 million.

Meanwhile, financially troubled Ukraine will reduce tariffs on 86 percent of Canadian imports and increase exports to Canada by Can$23.7 million, mainly in the textile and metalworking industries.

The Ukrainian economy has taken a nosedive after three years of recession and more than a year of civil war.

Its national debt is expected to reach nearly 94 percent of GDP this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Canada became the first western country to recognize Ukraine's independence in December 1991.


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