The association agreement between the EU and Ukraine, which was signed in 2014 but only came into effect on 1 January, will have a range of effects on the economies of both Ukraine and the EU. Rimantas Šėgžda, the Lithuanian Commercial Attache at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Ukraine, discussed how the changes will impact Lithuanian businesses.
Rimantas Šegžda
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

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The first change, according to Šėgžda, will be will be a drop in tariffs as exporting to Ukraine becomes easier. “The agreement does not only include reductions in Ukrainian import customs tariffs, it also includes services and the harmonization of Ukraine's products with the EU's laws,” he told Žinių Radijas.

Šėgžda believes that the agreement will open more new business niches for Lithuanians. “The majority of our exports were oil products – 70 percent. This niche still has potential. However, there are many opportunities for our food industry companies as well. Dairy products can be successfully sold here, so other dairy product processors could work here in Ukraine. Furniture, paper production, and various chemicals that already exist in these markets could be developed even further.”

When asked whether Lithuania's businesspeople are interested in business opportunities in Ukraine, Šėgžda said that there is some interest, but that this is hampered by Ukraine's complicated political and financial situation.

“Of course our businesspeople are very interested. They visit, participate in business conventions, missions, meetings. In Ukraine, this year and probably the next will be very politically and economically complicated. There were many problems due to currency conversions for buyers. The war, which is still ongoing, is economically weakening Ukraine as a potential market. It's worth the interest, however,” said Šėgžda.

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