The topicality of creating a zone of economic security in Europe and Asia
During the VII Baltic-Black Sea Economic Forum, which was hosted by Ukraine (Kherson) on September 25, new challenges faced by the world economy during the pandemic and quarantine restrictions were discussed.
The participants in the discussion were the following: Andrius Kubilius, Member of the European Parliament, Co-President of the Euronest, Prime Minister of Lithuania in 1999-2000, 2008-2012; Jacek Piechota, Minister of Economy of Poland in 2001-2003 and 2005, Deputy of the Sejm of Poland in 1985-2007, President of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce; Alar Teras, representative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Estonia; Arnur Tanbay, counselor of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Ukraine; Gvidas Kerushauskas, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania; Dariusz Kijanka, representative of Pomeranian Development Agency, Poland; Suat Hacisalihoğlu, Chairman of the Trabzon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc.
During the discussion and exchange of experiences, there were developed recommendations for joint actions aimed at overcoming the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and introduction of quarantine restrictions for the economies of Europe and Asia.
As noted by Andrius Kubilius in his speech:
“The pandemic is closing us down and events such as this forum, which brought together representatives from different countries of Europe and Asia, play a very important role. Cooperation is one of the key mechanisms for overcoming the consequences of a pandemic. At one time I was one of the authors of the so-called "Marshall Plan for Ukraine". How to attract investments to Ukraine? How to help Ukraine use its potential? But here the question arose of Ukraine's ability to absorb funds allocated by the EU and of the availability of projects for implementation. As for the prospects of the EU's Eastern Partnership program (of which Ukraine is a member too), there are different opinions about it within the European Parliament. A 7-year plan is currently being developed, which provides the creation of an economic fund recovery. The EU funds are coming, but it is not yet known how much it will be allocated for the Eastern Partnership program. There is a program of EU membership prospects for the Western Balkans countries. But why is Ukraine not getting prospects for EU membership? More attention should be paid to the countries that have signed an Association Agreement with the EU, including Turkey”.
For his part, Jacek Piechota, former Minister of Economy of Poland and President of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, said in his speech:
“The Polish economy is coping quite well with the consequences of the pandemic. The smallest fall in GDP among all EU countries is expected in 2020. This is the result of comprehensive business support, the introduction of a progressive system of benefits and subsidies for business, where the main goal is to preserve working places. If we talk about trade relations between Poland and Ukraine, the volume of trade between our countries fell by only 6%, while exports of Ukrainian goods and services to Poland decreased by 15% compared to the same period last year”.
Gvidas Kerushauskas, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, in his turn, focused on the assessment of the events in Belarus, the negative perception of Alexander Lukashenko's statements about the intention to refuse to move cargo through the seaport of Klaipeda and the Polish border with Lithuania. In particular, Mr. Gvidas noted that:
“About 30% of the cargo of the seaport of Klaipeda is connected with Belarus, as the route of the container ship Viking, which connects Ukraine with the port of Klaipeda, passes through the territory of Belarus. At present, the movement of goods across the border of Belarus is maintained, but the time of passing across the border is prolonged”.
During the discussion, special attention was paid to the experience of Kazakhstan. Performing, together with Turkmenistan, the role of a gateway to Asia, the information and experience shared by the counselor of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Ukraine Arnur Tanbay was relevant. In particular, he told the forum participants that:
“Kazakhstan, based on the understanding that the investor must be fought for, has improved its legislation, emphasizing the comfort of doing business and guaranteeing the security of investments. In Kazakhstan, there have been established the Council of Investors under the President and the Council for Improving the Investment Climate that is headed by the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan and accompanies investment projects. The national company Kazakhinvest provides about 360 services applying the “single window” system. There are 13 special economic zones and 22 industrial zones in Kazakhstan”.
Alar Teras, representative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, shared his experience in providing services remotely, in the electronic format of cooperation in organizing international trade and movement of goods across the border.
The issues regarding the significant role of Turkmenistan and its comprehensive support for the development of cooperation with Ukraine, the strategic vision of intensifying cooperation in the transport and logistics sector, where the modern international seaport of Turkmenbashi is a powerful link, as also the importance of Ukrainian-Turkmen cooperation in energy resources were substantively set before the forum participants by Zinovii Hoshovskyi, Charge d'Affaires of Ukraine in Turkmenistan.