Source Pravda.Ru

Yalta hosts Ukrainian-Russian business forum

Those attending a Russian-Ukrainian business forum in Yalta, the Crimea, will discuss the creation of a Russian-Ukrainian free-trade zone.

President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine also plans to take part in this forum's work, reports the Ukrainian President's administration. Ukraine's Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich would also be expected to speak at the Yalta forum.

Forum delegates are to discuss the possibility of signing an agreement on excluding indirect taxes during mutual trade, as well as a protocol on the stage-by-stage abolition of free-trade regime exceptions.

Moscow and Kharkov had hosted similar forums in late 2000 and in December 2001, respectively. Russian and Ukrainian business circles started maintaining traditionally good contacts as a result; such forums make it possible to maintain stable contacts between our two countries' business communities, politicians and executive institutions of state authority, experts note.

In September 2002 Odessa hosted a Ukrainian-Russian forum called "Prospects for Business-Like Cooperation Between Ukraine and the Russian Federation". That forum involved more than 90 Ukrainian and Russian state officials, as well as 145 businessmen.

A similar 2003 forum was attended by over 300 businessmen and officials. 23 Ukrainian regional administrators, as well as those of 15 Russian regions and territories, discussed ways of enhancing direct trade-and-economic and science-and-technological cooperation, as well as all-out inter-regional rapprochement. An agreement on establishing an inter-regional organization was signed during that event; the new organization is mostly called on to expand comprehensive friendly and partner-like relations between the regions of both countries.

The Ukrainian-Russian investment forum was organized in Kharkov, which is the largest eastern Ukrainian city, in December 2003 on the initiative of the Kharkov regional administration and Russia's Ukrainian embassy. That forum aimed to invigorate bilateral cooperation and to provide Russian investment for the Kharkov regional economy.