‘Dutch exports to Ukraine grew last year by at least 20%, and there’s still plenty of room for growth,’ said Ms Ploumen. ‘The greatest opportunities lie in energy, chemicals, maritime industries, and agriculture. Ukraine, for instance, has vast expanses of farmland which – with Dutch knowhow about crops and food processing – could yield more.’
Some 250 Dutch businesses are currently operating in Ukraine, around 100 of them having opened subsidiaries. Two of the Netherlands’ leading industries – chemicals and horticulture/propagation materials – have designated Ukraine a focus country.
Ms Ploumen also spoke with Mr Azarov about improving the investment climate in Ukraine, which will be affected significantly by the outcome of the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius later this year. Ukraine hopes that the summit will lead to an association agreement with the EU, including a far-reaching trade agreement. In the Netherlands’ view, the agreement’s signing should depend not only on an economic deal, but also on whether Ukraine makes progress in the areas of human rights and good governance.
Later today, Mr Azarov will be received by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. Mr Azarov’s delegation will then speak with representatives of Shell, Philips, Damen, and a number of agricultural companies.