Ukraine it is the Central-East European country. It is Europe’s largest country, Ukraine is larger than England, Denmark, Belgium, Greece, and Switzerland put together.
The population of Ukraine exceeds 46 million inhabitants. Ukrainians are a nation of very friendly and tolerant people. It is a home to people of more than 130 nationalities and ethnicities with different cultural and religious backgrounds living together in harmony. In Ukraine live 40 ethnic groups that traditionally practice Islam. The leading Islamic ethnic group is the Crimean Tatars.
On August 24, 2011 Ukraine will celebrate 20 years of Independence. Over its years of independence, the young country has established itself well among world nations. Ukraine began a new life, having a strong potential inherited from the disintegrated Soviet Union. Thought, the transition to a market economy proved very difficult for the nation.
Yet the country has been showing economic growth for many years running. After the world financial crises Ukraine continues to show sustained development of its economy. According to operational data, real GDP of Ukraine grew by 5.2% in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the corresponding period of 2010 (real GDP in 2010 increased by 4.2%). In this context, it is worth mentioning that the international rating agency Fitch Ratings has changed the forecast of ratings of Ukraine from stable on positive in July 2011.
Over the years of independence, foreign investors brought more than US $40 billion to Ukraine.
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. Considering foreign investment there are a number of advantages in Ukraine: its large domestic market, significant industrial and agricultural potential, as well as benefits of geopolitical location at the crossroads of trade routes in Europe and Asia. New possibilities for investment in infrastructure and tourism sector in Ukraine are also open due to the preparation for the European Football Championship EURO 2012, which will be hosted jointly by Ukraine and Poland.
Ukraine continues its path of reforms. The country is developing, taking into account the European experience and improving the standards of life for its citizens. Nowadays Ukraine undergoes complex transformation. There are 21 priority economic and social reforms that are underway or being launched.
During the past 20 years, Ukraine has established itself as a responsible international partner. An important element in creating a favorable security environment was the decision to implement policy of non-participation in the military alliances. Ukraine also showed an example of nuclear disarmament. Ukraine is the only country which voluntarily abandons the third largest in the world nuclear arsenal.
At the same time Ukrainians never turn a blind eye to the problems of others. We are always ready to stretch out a helping hand to any country that has suffered a natural disaster or military conflict. Throughout the years of independence Ukraine has become the active participant in the international peacekeeping missions in 20 countries.
Ukraine is intensively working to become part of the European Union. Meanwhile, the country has a good relationship the Russian Federation and USA. We also intend to boost our relations with the countries of the Middle East, East and South East Asia, Africa, Latin America. The strategic plans of our country include securing a place among the world’s top 20 most developed nations (G20).
Malaysia was among the first countries, which recognized Ukraine's independence. The next year both countries will celebrate 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 2011 the bilateral trade has grown for 76,6% comparing to the same period of the last year and constituted about RM 925,38 million (Malaysian export RM 496,94 million and import RM 428,44 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 20 years of independence in Ukrainian universities have been educated over 2,000 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.
Despite the fact that today’s Ukraine is a young state of only 20 years, its history is rooted in remote antiquity. At all times Ukrainian lands have played an important role for European civilization and cultural heritage. The beauty of nature of Ukraine is harmonically complemented with products of human hands – castles and palaces, parks and country estates, old towns and modern architecture.
Therefore, cooperation in tourism is a promising segment of bilateral relations. Malaysia annually attracts more than 3,000 Ukrainian tourists. Meanwhile, Ukraine, as a very attractive European tourist country, has much to offer Malaysian tourists from the ski resort and luxurious beaches of the Black Sea to the green tourism and unique sanatorium for patients suffering respiratory diseases in a salt mines.
To further promote tourism development in Ukraine, the Government of Ukraine since September 10, 2011 considerably simplifies visa procedure for Malaysian citizens. It will be cancelled necessity of letters of invitations for short-term visas and also provided the right to applicants, who have been refused a visa, to appeal the decision in due course.
Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that the Government of Ukraine has started the negotiation process on partial abolition of visa requirements with Malaysia. The appropriate draft Agreement was transmitted for the consideration of Malaysian Side early this year.