Economic ties with Ukraine are just as important as security issues – Ambassador of UK to Ukraine
The introduction of the post of the UK Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Trade with Ukraine is a very important signal that economic relations with Ukraine are as important to the United Kingdom as security issues, Ambassador of the UK to Ukraine Melinda Simmons has said.
"The fact that we have Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for Trade with Ukraine Baroness Meyer is a very important signal that economic relations are as important to us as security issues. I expect that she (Baroness Meyer) will give time communicating with UK businesses about what this deal actually means and then working to develop a relationship between UK and Ukraine entrepreneurs," Simmons said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
The ambassador said the agreement on political cooperation, free trade and strategic partnership between the UK and Ukraine, signed during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to London, is historic, since for the first time it defines the breadth and scope of the partnership between the two countries in the future.
"And the word 'partnership' is especially important here. The document is more than a trade deal, although it is a very important part of it. The treaty recognizes that both countries contribute to bilateral relations. For me, it is a signal of Ukraine's maturity as a democratic state. The United Kingdom is strengthening its support for the security and economic development of Ukraine. At the same time, Britain has a lot to learn from Ukraine, including, unfortunately, how to deal with a hybrid conflict," the diplomat said.
Simmons said from next year this trade deal would replace the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU in our relations, when its effect would cease to apply to Britain with the end of the transition period after leaving the EU. The British ambassador stressed that regardless of whether it is inside the EU or outside, the relationship between the United Kingdom and Ukraine does not change. The difference is that outside the EU, Britain can have much more direct communication with Ukraine, and this is largely about trade.
"The most important thing is that it is not only about trade. We took the opportunity to leave the EU to write down what our partnership will look like in the future, including trade, but beyond that, about political issues and values our countries share," she said.