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Background: EU Trade with Ukraine Flourishes

DPA news agency (jp)September 4, 2008

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union brought independence to Ukraine and shattered the Stalinist economy, the EU has become the country's biggest trading partner.

An Ukrainian car enters the European Union on the Polish Ukrainian border in Korczowa, southeast Poland
The Ukraine has close ties to the EUImage: AP

The 27-member bloc, which has direct land borders to Ukraine via Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, buys 31 percent of all Ukraine's exports and provided 45.6 percent of its imports, to a total value of 34.8 billion euros ($50.6 billion) in 2007, according to figures from the European Commission.

That makes Ukraine's trade with the EU worth more than half again as much as its trade with Russia ($21 billion in 2007).

However, Ukraine is only the EU's 16th most important trade partner, buying 1.8 percent of its exports and providing less than 1 percent of its imports. Russia's trade with the EU is roughly seven times greater.

Key transit country

The EU's main imports from Ukraine consist of agricultural products, energy, chemicals and machinery. Steel and textiles are also major trade goods but are limited by bilateral deals.

EU imports from Ukraine doubled between 2003 and 2007.

The EU's main exports to Ukraine are machinery, chemicals and transport equipment. Exports have soared in recent years, almost trebling between 2003 and 2007.

Ukraine is also a key transit country for energy supplies with Russia. Its row with Russian gas monopolist Gazprom in early 2006 led to brief gas shortfalls across much of western Europe.

According to EU figures, the bloc is far and away the largest investor in Ukraine, with investment there reaching 7.7 billion euros, or over 70 percent of total investments, by the end of 2005, the last year for which figures are available.