During the period from January 12 to January 15, 2021 the Foreign policy council “Ukrainian Prism” held a series of conferences entitled “Economic diplomacy: how does Ukraine cooperate and where does it tow in relations with its neighbors?”, conducted on Zoom platform. The aim of the following series of conferences was the assessment of the state of bilateral economic relations with the neighboring countries of Ukraine, as well as of the regional initiatives, and the development of recommendations on increasing economic interaction and enhancing the effectiveness of the tools of economic diplomacy in relations with those countries.
The first meeting on “Economic diplomacy: are the tools compliant with the realia of neighborship? The case of Belarus” was held on January 12, 2021. In the following meeting, among others, participated the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Belarus Mr. Ihor Kyzym, chief consultant of the department of new challenges at the Center for foreign policy studies (NISS) Mr. Ivan Us, and the representatives of Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus.
During his report Ivan Us pointed out, that in 2020 with a decline in trade between Ukraine and all other world states to 6,36 % the trade flow with the Republic of Belarus dropped by 19,85 %. This, inter alia, was the result of integration divergence in the paths of two states.
The second meeting on “How does the economic diplomacy work, and where does it tow in relations with the neighboring states: Georgia, Moldova, and GUAM” took place on January 13, 2021. In the following meeting, among others, participated program coordinator on economic issues at the GUAM Secretariat Mr. Sabuhi Tamirov, as well as representatives of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.
In his report Mr. Us drew attention to the new initiative of the EU to establish the Service for trade-related technical assistance in frames of the Eastern Partnership, and its perspectives for trade expansion of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova.
On January 14, 2021 the third meeting on “Ukraine’s economic diplomacy on the Western flank: Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Three Seas Initiative” took place, in which participated Senior Vice-President of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce Oleg Dubish, economic secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ukraine P. Lang, as well as representatives of Ukrainian and Polish scientific and analytical institutions.
In his report Mr. Us mentioned, that the Republic of Poland appreciably enhanced its role for Ukraine, while having become in 2020 its second trading partner according to the turnover data after China. It is important not only for the sake of economy, but also in a political sense, because for now, according to the turnover data, the European state plays more important role for Ukraine than the Russian Federation.
The final meeting on “The Black Sea: Sea of Economic Opportunities for Ukraine? (Bulgaria, Turkey, BSEC) happened on January 15, 2021. Among others in the meeting participated: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar, the head of international Turkish-Ukrainian business association (TUID) Burak Pehlivan, the head of the department for research of the Southern Region (Odessa) at the NISS Artem Filipenko.
In his report Mr. Filipenko talked about partnership between Ukraine and Bulgaria, and Ukrainian cooperation with the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank.
While analyzing trade between Ukraine and the Republic of Turkey Ivan Us pointed out, that the following country is among the Top 5 largest trading partners with regard to import and export alike. Meanwhile Mr. Us also drew attention, that during 2020 the trade balance was negative for Ukraine, yet in December the trade surplus of US $40 million resulted in the end-of-year positive trade balance between Ukraine and the Republic of Turkey (US $30 million).