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‘Kingdom’s exports to Ukraine drop by half due to Syrian crisis’

By Khetam Malkawi - Jan 28,2014 - Last updated at Jan 28,2014

AMMAN — The Syrian crisis has negatively affected trade between Jordan and Ukraine, with the trade volume dropping by 26 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012 due to the difficulty of using Syrian territory to transport goods, the Ukrainian ambassador said on Tuesday

Ambassador Sergey Pasko added that the bilateral trade volume stood at $426 million in 2013.

Jordan’s exports to Ukraine suffered the most, witnessing a 50 per cent drop last year compared to 2012.

“As an embassy cooperating with Jordanian businessmen, we do all that we can to improve trade between the two countries,” said the envoy.

Currently, he said, Ukraine imports from Jordan through Israel, mostly fruit and vegetables.

Meanwhile, the ambassador said Ukraine is interested in importing phosphates from the Kingdom, but the price of Jordanian phosphate is 50 per cent higher than other countries.

“We are negotiating [with] Jordan on the prices, and this issue will be discussed in the third meeting of the joint Jordanian-Ukrainian committee… in May this year in Amman,” the ambassador said at a press conference on Tuesday to mark his country’s day of unity and freedom, celebrated annually on January 22 to mark the unification of central-eastern and western Ukraine.

The envoy also noted that relations between Jordan and Ukraine are “distinguished”, citing His Majesty King Abdullah’s visit to Ukraine in 2011 and his President Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Jordan in 2012, which contributed to boosting bilateral ties.

The establishment of the Ukrainian-Jordanian Friendship Society in 2013 is also a step forward towards enhancing people-to-people relations, according to the ambassador.

There are currently 4,500 Jordanians studying in Ukraine, and the majority of them are enrolled at medical schools.

Over the past three years, there was a 10 per cent annual rise in the number of Jordanians studying in Ukraine, according to Pasko, who said that the increase is related to the regional turmoil, which forced some Jordanians to leave the region to continue their studies in his country.

A few years ago, “there [were] complaints about the quality of education in some universities in Ukraine from Jordanian ministers of higher education and health, but this has changed recently,” the ambassador said, adding that the quality is much better now, and some well-known Jordanian doctors are graduates of Ukrainian medical schools.

“Jordan is known as one of the best destinations for medical tourism, and we are interested in expanding cooperation… in this field,” he noted.

The ambassador added that the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and a number of MPs will visit Jordan in the first half of this year to meet local officials.

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