Ukraine’s Ambassador to Qatar, Yevhen Mykytenko, said yesterday that Qatar-Ukraine bilateral relations, especially the trade exchange between the two countries, is expected to see sharp jump in 2018 and will be registering exponential growth in the years to come.
Concerned authorities, including private business individuals and organisations, from both the countries are working aggressively to boost the level of cooperation across all industries, with special focus in the field of energy, construction, food and agro-products, IT, healthcare, civil aviation, and marine transport among others.
The trade volume between Qatar and Ukraine in 2017 was more than $50mn. Ukraine mainly exports products of steel, food, grains, wood, wheat, and others. Ukraine buys different kinds of chemical products from Qatar.
“We are working to enhance relations with Qatar in all fields, including politics, business, trade, commerce and investment for mutual benefits. Just a couple of days ago we had a meeting with the founders and members of the newly established Qatar-Ukraine Business Forum (QUBF) and exchanged ideas and discussed strategies to enhancing Qatar-Ukraine collaboration,” Ambassador Mykytenko told The Peninsula in an exclusive interview.
Mykytenko said: “2018 was a very special year for the Qatar-Ukraine bilateral economic and diplomatic relations for many reasons. This year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations with Qatar and the 5th anniversary of the establishment of Ukraine’s embassy in Doha.
“This year we witnessed the exchange of several trade delegations and very high-profile visits of government officials, which included the first official visit of our President Petro Poroshenko, and six ministers, to Doha. And recently we had the visit of the First Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv which concluded in November.”
The ambassador also said that Ukraine, which imports nearly 60 percent of its total gas consumption from other countries, is working with experts studying the economic feasibility of importing Qatari gas.
Although Ukraine imports gas through pipeline, and doesn’t have terminal to directly receive LNG from Qatar, but it is planning to use the infrastructure of other European countries, and the facilities which are not optimally utilized, especially during the summer season when the Western European countries consume less gas.
However, Ukraine boasts to have one of the largest gas reservoirs with the capacity to store about 20bn cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas. It is also studying the possibility of importing Qatari gas through the upcoming huge floating gas terminal, which is being developed by the European Union in collaboration with Croatia and other partners.
Ukraine, with a surplus food grain of over 45 million tonnes, is also planning to export wheat, barley, corn, edible oil, and other food stuff to Qatar.
Qatar is building strategic food security facilities and warehouses at whopping cost of QR1.bn at Hamad Port. The project will have the capacity of providing stockpile of processed and stored food for 3 million people for two years as well as be able to export food stuff to regional countries.
Aiming to build on the existing bilateral economic ties and further accelerating the cooperation, the newly registered QUBF is working in close cooperation with Qatari officials and prominent business leaders.
Adel Abdul Rahman Al Mannai, board member of Qatar Chamber, has been appointed as the honorary Chairperson of QUBF, and Abdul Razaq Al Lari, Chairman of Lari Group, is the executive board member of QUBF, while Dr Khalid Al Hajiri, board member of QC, has agreed to support various QUBF projects.
Volodymyr Kuruts, Counselor and Head of Trade and Commerce at the Embassy of Ukraine, Dr Olga Revina, Founder & Chairperson of QUBF and Daria Revina, Vice-Chairperson of QUBF, also attended yesterday’s meeting with the Ambassador Mykytenko and exchanged ways to strengthen the economic ties with Qatar.
“QUBF team is driven by passion to increase the speed of Qatar-Ukraine partnership and we do our practical contribution to make it happen,” said Dr Olga.
She said that QUBF business council has actively supported Ukrainian business leaders to meet with Qatari counterparts and as well as the Ukrainian exhibitors taking part in various trade expos in Qatar.
Daria on her part said: “We are now registered with the QFC and working to support the Qatar National Vision 2030 and to build on the strengths of Ukraine, like what it can contribute in terms of products, services and expertise. We are working closely with Ukrainian and Qatari businesses and government officials to facilitate trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.”