Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai (R) and Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov sign the meeting minutes of the second meeting of the China-Ukraine Inter-government Cooperation Committee in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 24, 2013. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
KIEV, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine wants to join efforts with China to translate their cooperation potential into practical results, a senior Ukrainian official told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.
"Our task is to turn the opportunities and the potential, which are being widely discussed now, into concrete practical projects," said Natalia Mykolska, deputy minister of economic development and trade of Ukraine.
Ukraine attaches a great importance to its long-term economic cooperation with China, Mykolska said, adding that the two countries have all opportunities for pushing the partnership forward given the complementary advantages of each others' economies.
"For us, China is a strategic partner in the economic sphere and trade. Ukraine and China can effectively work together on foreign markets. Ukraine can become China's gateway to the European Union (EU), and China for us -- a strategically very important market and a source of investment," Mykolska emphasized.
Mykolska, who headed a Ukrainian delegation to the meeting of the Chinese-Ukrainian Subcommittee on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing last month, highlighted that the two countries have developed a roadmap to carry forward the economic partnership.
"We have defined a string of very important areas on which Ukraine and China will focus next year. The agriculture sphere, including food and drinks, is among these priority areas." Mykolska said, noting that Ukraine is interested to produce power engineering equipment and electrical appliances jointly with China.
Another important sector Mykolska cares within the partnership is machine-building. "We could produce machine-building products in Ukraine, using the know-how of both -- China and Ukraine," she explained.
Among other areas for joint cooperation, Mykolska named renewable energy and high-tech industry, pointing that the two countries may establish good tandems on the global digital market with the combined advantages of China's powerful hardware facilities and Ukraine's software developments.
While speaking on the business-to-business (B2B) collaboration, Mykolska said more and more Ukrainian companies are preparing to do business with China.
Mykolska said China is defined as a "market in focus" under the "Export Strategy of Ukraine". "We are at the stage when this interest should begin to turn into major projects," she said.
In a move to deepen the B2B cooperation, on Nov. 14-16, Mykolska led a business delegation to China's Global Food and Hospitality Expo in Shanghai.
The trade representative of Ukraine stressed that the Chinese market is very attractive to Ukrainian food producers due to its size.
"Currently, it is important for us to increase the supplies of ready-to-eat products to the Chinese market. Among them, we can name dairy products, which are gaining popularity in China, and healthy food products -- fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables," Mykolska said.
Besides, Ukrainian berries, meat products, juice, beer and wine, confectionery, baby food and organic goods can find specific market niches in China, she added.
According to the official, to gain its foothold on the Chinese market, Ukrainian agri-producers stand ready to manufacture "personalized" products specifically for Chinese consumers and produce goods under the trademarks of Chinese companies.
"We can offer high-quality products at a competitive price. And what is extremely important for the Chinese consumers -- an individual approach," Mykolska said.
Ukraine, which is rich in natural resources and has the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU and some Western countries, is also interested in attracting Chinese investment to jointly produce various goods for foreign markets, Mykolska said.
She pointed that the bilateral and multilateral cooperation could be carried out under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
"This Initiative is very important for us. Ukraine has trade and economic relations with all participants of this initiative. This makes us a natural partner not only for each of these countries but also a natural partner for the entire Initiative," Mykolska emphasized.
Next week, a Chinese delegation headed by Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai is set to visit Kiev to participate in the meeting of the Chinese-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission.