OTTAWA – LETTERS – As President Putin’s Russian-backed rebels continue to wreak havoc and destruction along Ukraine’s eastern border, Canada has been at the forefront of the international community’s response. We’re putting our words into action.
In addition to the more than $568 million in aid and loans that Canada has announced since the beginning of the conflict, we have also moved to strengthen our economic ties to Ukraine by building a strong trade partnership.
Why is a trade partnership so important?
Ukraine’s economy has been hit very hard by Russian aggression and by years of mismanagement, especially under the former Yanukovich regime. Canada is committed to helping build a peaceful and prosperous future for the Ukrainian people, which is why we have taken a leading role in promoting sustainable economic growth.
That was the focus of my recent trade and development mission to Ukraine – my second in the past six months.
During my mission, I had the opportunity to meet with several of my counterparts, including Aivaras Abromavičius, Ukraine’s new Minister of Economic Development and Trade. We highlighted our ongoing negotiations towards a Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, which will eliminate many trade barriers and create new opportunities for businesses in both of our countries. We also discussed the significant structural reforms which the Ukrainian government is undertaking to improve governance and restore their economy to health. I was impressed by the courage and commitment of the new government to undertake such difficult yet necessary reforms.
During my time in Kyiv, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand Canada’s contribution to saving the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and innocent victims of the war. We are providing each soldier with the same first aid kits that our Canadian soldiers carry with them into conflict zones. Those kits are equipped to provide immediate response to major life-threatening injuries and are expected to save hundreds, if not thousands, of Ukrainian lives.
I also announced $52 million of additional financial assistance to support, among other things, small- and medium-sized Ukrainian dairy and grain farmers as they seek to improve the production, storage and marketing of their products.
Ukraine faces enormous challenges in its quest for peace and prosperity. Our government is confident that the Ukrainian people have the will and the resilience to overcome those challenges, and Canada will remain their steadfast and trusted partner during this very difficult time.
Ed Fast MP