UKRAINIAN woman takes out money from an ATM. Trade with Israel could be boosted, the author argues.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In 2016, Israel and Ukraine will celebrate the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations. The friendly relations between Ukraine and Israel arose long before the establishment of formal diplomatic ones, however.
There is a strong historical relationship between our two countries.
Jews lived in the territory of Ukraine for centuries. Now, Israel is home to about half a million people from Ukraine. Of course, such close relations bear fruit.
Today Ukraine and Israel are cooperating in a number of areas, such as economics, medicine, technology, science, construction and agriculture, and maintain close cultural relations. Despite the fact that both of our states have been forced to defend themselves against an aggressor, the relationship between the two countries continues to dynamically develop.
The evidence of this is Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s present official visit to Israel, as part of which the possibility of signing a free trade agreement between Ukraine and Israel is going to be discussed. Of course, following the establishment of a free trade agreement, economic relations between our countries will grow even more.
Today Israeli businessmen are ready to invest in agriculture, energy and the construction industry in Ukraine. Furthermore, Israelis are interested in the construction and purchase of real estate in Ukraine, as well as in industry and the woodworking market.
Israel is a world leader in the IT capabilities so necessary today for Ukraine. It is vital for us to modernize manufacturing, introduce modern management systems and security systems. Israeli businessmen are willing to develop the Ukrainian IT market. In Ukraine there are the necessary material and human resources to do so.
In this regard, I would like to raise the employment opportunities for Ukrainian specialists in Israel. It is a sore point for our country: we must frankly accept that today unemployment is rampant in Ukraine. Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes and leave all their belongings to escape the war. Therefore, Israel’s offer to provide jobs for Ukrainians is invaluable. Today Israeli IT companies offer around 10,000 jobs for specialists from Ukraine.
In addition, Ukraine and Israel are planning to come to an agreement on the temporary employment of Ukrainian construction workers in Israel. Israel will offer to Ukrainian builders official employment with a guaranteed salary, health insurance and decent working conditions.
Tourism is also one of the most promising forms of cooperation.
As I said earlier, Ukraine and Israel have a very close family ties.
It is clear that a large number of Israelis want to develop business in Ukraine, to communicate with their families, go on holiday to familiar places such as the Lviv resorts, Ivano-Frankivsk region and Trans-Carpathian region.
Such active tourist and business flows in Ukrain’s western region were the reason for the opening of a flight between Lviv and Tel Aviv in May 2015 which was initiated by the Honorary Consulate of Israel in Western Ukraine.
I want to note that this experience has been quite successful: only one scheduled flight per week was planned initially, now two flights are running. I actively supported the opening of the flight because I see great prospects for cooperation between Israel and Western Ukraine.
Ukraine is interested in the further expansion of investment cooperation with Israel, and we have a strong legal framework for such cooperation, including the agreement on encouragement and mutual protection of investments.
In addition, we are actively working together to establish credit mechanisms in bilateral trade.
Today the State of Israel is one of Ukraine’s strategic partners. Our countries are interested in mutual development of relations at the state level. That is why I believe that the present visit of President Poroshenko to Israel will be a catalyst for the next round of relationship development between our countries.The author is the Honorary Consul of the State of Israel in Western Ukraine.