Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kyiv to discuss economic, political and military ties. During the Turkish leader’s visit on Feb. 3, he and Zelensky agreed to boost economic ties and to develop joint projects in military cooperation. Ukraine is “becoming a stable and understandable market with potentially great opportunities. We are one of the few countries that allow (investors) to achieve such high returns on investment capital,” Zelensky said at the Ukrainian-Turkish Business Forum in Kyiv, according to UNIAN news agency.

Ukraine and Turkey to sign a free trade agreement and double trade turnover. During the Feb. 3 meeting between the Ukrainian and Turkish presidents both Zelensky and Erdogan agreed that the countries need to sign the FTA. “We have a very ambitious goal — to increase the volume of bilateral trade to $10 billion. We have agreed to give our representatives working on the text of the free trade agreement a push,” Zelensky said, summarizing the talk with his Turkish counterpart, UNIAN reported. “We have agreed to complete negotiations on our free trade agreement this year,” Erdogan said after the meeting. The FTA has been on the bilateral agenda for many years, but has not seen significant progress.

Ukraine welcomes Turkish investment. During the investment forum, Zelensky said investment is the biggest area for cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey, UNIAN news agency reported. “And we are speaking not only about creating joint enterprises, but also about the active participation of Turkish companies in the privatization process (in Ukraine),” he said.

Zelensky offers Turkish businesses to take part in big Ukrainian infrastructure projects. “One of our priorities is large-scale modernization of our infrastructure, including roads, airports, seaports, the launch of river transport. We have announced the first tenders for concession of the Olvia and Kherson seaports. We are also preparing new tenders for Ukrainian airports and seaports, as well as concession projects for roads,” Zelensky described the existing investment opportunities, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

Ukraine looks forward to buying gas from Turkish pipeline and developing transport ties. Zelensky said that Kyiv aims to diversify its sources of energy imports and is interested in buying natural gas from the Azeri-Turkish TANAP pipeline. “We have discussed the possibility of transporting Caspian gas from the TANAP pipeline through the respective connectors to Ukraine,” he said. The two presidents also discussed building cooperation in transportation. “In particular, this concerns intermodal and ferry transport. I believe that Ukraine and Turkey will play a key role in the transport flows uniting eastern and northern Europe with the Middle East and Central Asia,” Zelensky said.

A Kyiv administrative court has suspended the concession of Kherson port. The port was granted in concession to Risoil-Kherson, a Georgian-Swiss port operator, according to the specialized publication Ports of Ukraine. As a result of the decision, all work on putting the port into operation under the bid’s winner is halted “until a court decision in this case enters into legal force,” reads the court’s resolution. Special Company Sea Port Kherson, Ltd. claimed that the concession procedure was illegal and that it had been unlawfully removed from the process.

Ukraine decreases imports of coking coal from Russia, but increases them from Kazakhstan. During 2019, Russian imports of coking coal to Ukraine fell by 24.2% to 5 million tons, according to Interfax-Ukraine. At the same time, imports of coking coal concentrate from Kazakhstan grew by 85% during the same period. As a result, the Kazakh imports in 2019 reached 750,000 tons compared to 400,000 tons in 2018.

The Ministry of Digital Transformation launches e-government firm Diia Company. The ministry promises that this state-owned tech company will help digitalize public services in Ukraine. Diia will be working “towards reaching the goal of the Digital Transformation Ministry, which is to ensure that all the public services in Ukraine are available online by 2024.” Diia has started hiring people as it published the list with the vacancies on the ministry’s website. The Digital Transformation Ministry launched Diia in December 2019.

Kyiv launches electronic accounting of timber. The authorities in Ukraine’s capital hope that using online tools to trace timber can become “an effective instrument for fighting illegal deforestation.” From now on, the city authorities can mark and trace every chopped tree. Later, they plan to make timber sales possible exclusively on transparent electronic marketplaces.

Zaporizhstal iron mill prioritizes the production of pig iron to metal rolls. As of January 2020, Zaporizhstal increased production of pig iron by 8.1% to 400,000 tons compared to January 2019, reads the mill’s press-release. At the same time, the production of metal rolls decreased by 1.2% compared to January 2019 falling from 296,000 tons to 292,000 tons. In January 2020, the plant also produced 338,000 tons of steel.

Inside Politics. Cabinet of Ministers Minister Dmytro Dubilet suggests linking the bonus payments of Ukraine’s presidents, prime ministers and speakers to the growth of gross domestic product. According to Dubilet, however, these are just “raw thoughts” that are still being discussed internally, as it’s not quite clear what else apart from GDP the salaries of Ukraine’s officials can correspond with. In his interview with Interfax-Ukraine, Dubilet said that this is a part of his task of developing the way to pay competitive salaries for public servants.

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