CUTIS kicks off CUFTA Opening Doors Series in Edmonton

Left to Right: Zenon Potichny, Myron Pyzyk, Marie Nazar, Jessica Littlewood, Richard Tarasofsky. Marco Levytsky

NP-UN Western Bureau.

The “CUFTA: Opening Doors series”, organized by the Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) kicked off with a full house of inspired Canadian business people in Edmonton, September 25.

Other presentation during their Western Canada tour were held in Calgary, September 26 and Winnipeg, September 28.

The Eastern leg of the tour will be held in Ottawa – October 11, Montreal – October 12 and Toronto – October 16.

During the presentation, representatives of local business, Government of Canada, CUTIS project and Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce discussed the benefits of free trade with Ukraine for Canadian business, success stories of Canadian entrepreneurs in Ukraine, the aspects of strengthening the role of women in trade between the two countries, and the investment attractiveness of Ukraine.

Speakers included Richard Tarasofsky, Deputy Director, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Government of Canada, Jessica Littlewood, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville and Chair of Advisory Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations, Zenon Potichny, CUCC President, Marie Nazar, CUTIS Project Activity Coordinator and Myron Pyzyk, CUTIS Canadian Project Director.

Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv sent video greetings.

In bringing her greetings from the Government of Alberta, Littlewood informed the audience about the upcoming Trade mission to Ukraine headed by Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous (See New Pathway – Ukrainian News “Alberta Organizes Trade Mission to Ukraine” from September 28) and emphasized that the Alberta Government is committed to helping Alberta companies do business with Ukraine.

Tarasofsky listed some of the benefits CUFTA brings. Among them are the removal of 99.9 per cent of Canadian tariffs on Ukrainian goods and 86 per cent of Ukrainian tariffs on Canadian goods. More Ukrainian tariffs are to be removed within a seven-year period.

As well, Canadian companies will have access to Ukrainian government contacts on the same basis as Ukrainian companies, there will be a mutual recognition of standards, and CUFTA provides for no duties on products delivered electronically from Canada to Ukraine.

The main Canadian exports to Ukraine include mineral fuels, seafood, aircraft, machinery and parts. Chief Ukrainian exports to Canada include soya beans, rail transportation equipment, fruits and vegetables and chemical dyes.

One of the most promising fields for Canadian imports from Ukraine is Information Technology (IT) services.

Marie Nazar reported on how the Canadian government can help Ukraine close the gender gap between women and men in Ukraine.

There is a 30% business ownership gap in Ukraine between women and men and a 25% national wage gap in Ukraine between women and men, but Canada has the best practices to offer and ranks 10th in the world by The Economists’ – Glass-Ceiling Index (2016), and in the United Nations Development Program Gender Development Index (GDI).

“The CUTIS project will aid the study of gender gaps in export industries and provide the Ukrainian government with valuable information to help reduce future gender gaps.

“Increased gender equality has at least as many, if not more, benefits to offer a country, such as Ukraine where women’s economic empowerment is a prerequisite for sustainable development.

“We at the CUTIS project look forward to supporting and meeting all the new entrepreneurial women of Ukraine and Canada, she said.

Myron Pyzyk focussed on some of the success stories of Canadian and Ukrainian businesses, noting in particular a Lviv company Electron Corporation, which can provide state-of-the-art streetcars for Canadian cities and a Calgary company that is building a solar energy plant in Nikopol.

Electron trams are single-space low-floor cars with an air conditioning system in passenger compartment, reduced vibration and noise level. Cars are intended for tracks of a different gauge and have three, four and more sections.

Electron electric bus is an example of a new generation of ecological urban transport systems and an example of efficient use of an inexpensive electric power for passenger transportation. A distance run of the electric bus without recharging the storage battery is 300 km.

Electron will hopefully be posting bids for the Request For Information (RFI) by the Toronto Transit Commission, the Edmonton Transit System LRT as well as many other upcoming requests for either replacement or installation of equipment in new and upcoming LRT systems across North America.

Calgary’s TIU Canada Ltd.’s 10-megawatt solar energy plant represents the first investment by TIU Canada in Ukraine and the first Canadian investment under CUFTA.

Zenon Potichny stressed that Ukraine has initiated some very significant economic reforms and has taken a pro-active approach to the fight with corruption. Naftogas Ukrayiny, which used to be a major money loser is now a net contributor to the state budge, he stated.

CUFTA was signed on July 11, 2016, entered into force on August 1, 2017. In addition to generating commercial benefits for Canadian businesses, CUFTA will support the economic reform and development efforts of the Government of Ukraine, strengthen the Canada-Ukraine partnership for peace and prosperity, and help pave the way for long-term security, stability, and broad-based economic development in Ukraine.

“The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement sends a powerful message to the rest of the world that Ukraine is open for business, and offers significant trade and investment opportunities. With CUFTA now in full effect, Canadian and Ukrainian businesses alike will fully benefit from the countless opportunities for increased trade, growth and investment,” said Potichny.

CUTIS is a five-year development assistance project funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada from February 2016 until February 2021. The Project is implemented by the Conference Board of Canada in coalition with the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce. The CUTIS Project aims to reduce poverty and increase sustainable economic growth in Ukraine through the expansion of Ukrainian exports to Canada and the attraction of Canadian investment in Ukraine. CUTIS supports Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including SMEs owned or operated by women. CUTIS project offices are in Toronto, Ottawa, and Kyiv.