Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky made a corresponding statement at the online discussion “Ukraine-Japan-EU trade connectivity: mutual impact and new opportunities”, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
The diplomat said that he raised the issue of Ukraine's interest in starting negotiations on conclusion of a free trade agreement during numerous meetings with representatives of the Japanese authorities.
“Japanese counterpart is very cautious about that, and this is clear: 0.1 percent of Japan's foreign trade turnover is not something worth spending effort on. But we really need the free trade agreement," Korsunsky said.
As the Ambassador noted, Japan is in the very heart of a network of free trade agreements with the whole world.
"It’s a completely unique case: no matter what dimension we take - trans-Pacific, transatlantic or regional, Japan has free trade regimes," he said.
According to him, another important fact is that Japan, like Ukraine, has free trade regimes with the EU, Great Britain and Canada.
"From my point of view, we are already very close legally with Japan, that is why the negotiations about free trade don’t have to be long and difficult. I think we will be able to do that in a year, it would be desirable if there is a will," Korsunsky noted.
Commenting on the benefits for Ukraine in the case of conclusion of the FTA with Japan, he noted that the Ukrainian side is interested not only in the entry of Ukrainian goods into the Japanese market.
"Japan is important for Ukraine as a global, powerful trade nation in the world, which can help us have much wider markets in the Asian region," the Ambassador said.
As noted in the analytical commentary presented during the online discussion, according to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, Japanese imports of goods to Ukraine last year stood at $1.1 billion, while Ukrainian exports to Japan amounted to $182 million. The structure of Ukrainian merchandise exports has traditionally been dominated by low added-value goods, such as iron ores and concentrate thereof, tobacco products and industrial tobacco substitutes. Japan primarily exported to Ukraine mechanical engineering products, such as automobiles. Exports of heavy engineering and electrical machinery accounted for 8.5 and 4.6 percent of the trade turnover, respectively.
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