Ukraine seeks to join "16+1" mechanism for participation in China's Silk Road initiative

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/11/8 8:27:14

Ukraine is willing to join the "16+1" mechanism, a platform created by China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries, to start a comprehensive cooperation with China under the Silk Road Initiative, a senior Ukrainian parliament official announced on Monday.

"It is very important for Ukraine to join the "16+1" format and become a full member of the Silk Road project," Iryna Gerashchenko, First Vice Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, said during the 2016 Ukraine Silk Road Forum in Kiev.

To assist the accession process, a special "group of friends of China", uniting more than half of Ukrainian lawmakers, was created in the Ukrainian parliament, Gerashchenko said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Zubko, who also took part in the forum, said that Kiev is considering the Silk Road initiative as a priority chance for Ukraine to unlock its transit potential.

"The Silk Road is an investment artery that connects Central Asia, the largest producer of goods, with the rest of the world. Ukraine is the first European country on this path, and we must fully take the advantage of this position," Zubko said.

Ukraine, which plans to launch a regular cargo train service to China next year, has already established a railway link with the countries of Northern Europe and is holding talks with several Central European countries over an establishment of freight train connection, he added.

Separately, Ukraine's Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Natalia Mykolska said that the possible establishment of an international transport corridor linking Europe and Asia in Ukraine will increase the investment attractiveness of the Eastern European country.

She said that Kiev hopes to attract Chinese investment to produce goods, which will be exported to China and to the countries and regions, which have free trade agreements with Ukraine, namely the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Canada.

"Ukraine could become a manufacturing hub for Chinese investors," Mykolska emphasized.

She noted that Ukraine is interested in enhancing cooperation with China in such fields as industry, agriculture, tourism, and the sector of information technologies.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine Du Wei said that China welcomes Ukraine's efforts on enhancing economic cooperation in the framework of the Silk Road initiative.

"We hope that Chinese investors will come to Ukraine with investments in agriculture, science and technology, infrastructure, logistics, finance, e-commerce, nuclear and renewable energy, as well as in other areas," Du said.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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