On August 24, 2012 Ukraine will celebrate 21 years of the Independence. Ukraine began a new life, having a strong potential inherited from the disintegrated Soviet Union. After two decades of the intensive work in order to transform national economy to the market one and strengthening the Government structures the young country has established itself well among world nations.
Yet the country has been showing economic growth for many years running. In spite of the world financial crises Ukraine continues to show sustained development of its economy.
Now, thanks to the political stability established in the country, it has an investment climate favorable as never before. This means an opportunity to modernize the economy, introduce the latest technologies, build new factories, and create jobs. Ukraine could potentially become one of the leading countries in Europe with sufficient foreign direct and portfolio investment.
The fair and transparent elections, freedom of speech and religion, ethnic and interfaith tolerance and mutual respect became an important democratic achievement of Ukraine that formed an integral part of life of new Generation of Ukrainians.
This year there was a good chance to see the achievements of Ukraine by foreign guests, including Malaysians, by their own eyes. Since June 8 till July 1, 2012 Ukraine together with Poland has co-hosted the most important football events of the year 2012 - the final tournament of the European Football Championship (EURO 2012). The EURO 2012 becomes the record football Championship in many ways. It was watched by 150 million football fans and the matches in Ukrainian stadiums were visited by 1,5 million fans. None of the previous European Championship had such popularity. For preparing for EURO 2012 our country spend more than 5 billion USD and the big part of those costs was made by foreign and domestic investors.
The value of this great sport event in Ukraine can’t be overemphasized. Despite the plural negative forecasts, Ukraine perfectly organized all the EURO 2012 measures and events, in particular the final game of EURO 2012, and received the highest UEFA marks. With EURO 2012, Ukraine was able to dispel the many negative myths about itself. The foreign fans were wondered not so much by good infrastructure and modern stadiums rather than great Ukrainian food, hospitality and good humor of our people.
Ukraine is the important subject of the international relations. The main strategic aim of Ukraine is to become the full member of the European Union. Meanwhile, the country maintains the good relationship with all countries of the World. Today the determining of new trade and economic partners on all continents becomes one of the most important tasks for the foreign policy of the Country.
Malaysia was among the first countries, which recognized Ukraine's independence. This year both countries celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral relationship.
Ukraine and Malaysia enjoy warm and friendly bilateral relations. Over the past years the Ukrainian-Malaysian collaboration has been developing successfully, especially in trade and economic areas. In particular, Ukraine has become one of the major exporters of Malaysian palm oil in the world and the largest in the Central and Eastern Europe. The bilateral cooperation in the chemical, steel and agricultural industries has been strengthened every year. During the first five months of 2012 the bilateral trade has grown for 12 % comparing to the same period of the last year and constituted about RM 1,05 billion (Malaysian export RM 783 million and import RM 267 million).
It should be also noted active bilateral cooperation in military, technical and scientific spheres. Ukraine is one of the very few countries that can design and manufacture not only its own satellites but also rocket launchers. Two Malaysian satellites “TiungSAT-1” and “MEASAT-1” were launched by Ukrainian rockets. There are also good perspectives for the implementation of the bilateral projects in shipbuilding and aviation, as well as in the energy sector.
Ukraine and Malaysia have good experience of cooperation in higher education, during 21 years of independence in Ukrainian universities have been educated over 2,200 highly qualified Malaysian professionals. The most Ukrainian universities provide education in English for very reasonable prices. Specialists educated in Ukraine have been traditionally valued highly abroad.
To further promote tourism development in Ukraine, the Government of Ukraine since the year 2011 considerably simplifies visa procedure for Malaysian citizens. Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that the Government of Ukraine has started the negotiation process on partial abolition of visa requirements with Malaysia. Now the appropriate draft Agreement is in the final stages of approval and the Embassy hopes that it could be already signed during year 2013.