Ukraine's Yanukovych Secures $8 Billion Investment Commitments From China

Dec 06, 2013, 09:54 ET from Ukraine Monitor

BEIJING, December 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to make the Ukrainian economy his priority and undertake this week's state visit to China is paying dividends, with news Thursday that he has secured investments totalling $8 billion.

Speaking after a signing ceremony in Beijing at which the investment commitments were made, he said: "The Ukrainian and Chinese nations are tied by long-standing friendship."

"The documents signed today expand our economic cooperation. We have not yet calculated how much this will make up in terms of money, but we made some calculations earlier and saw that it is about some $8 billion in investments coming to the Ukrainian economy," he said, adding that more investment documents are in their final stages of preparation and expected to be signed soon.

Observers noted that this investment coup vindicates his decision to forge ahead with this prestigious state visit, which is the product of almost a year of careful diplomacy between Kiev and Beijing, despite pressures at home.

Just last week in Vilnius, Yanukovych walked away from a possible Association Agreement with the European Union on the basis that the economic aid package accompanying it, of around a billion dollars, was in his words "humiliating" and would not begin to cover the losses from its trade pact with Russia which would be impacted. At the time he noted that the economic benefit to his nation remains his top priority.

Ukraine, however, has also made it clear that it remains committed to European integration and ideals. The EU too said it would keep its doors open. Following a conversation between President Yanukovych and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday, the two sides pledged to work together to forge ahead on this historic agreement.

The latest investment pledge follows a number of headline-making deals between Kiev and Beijing. China has issued loans totalling about $10 billion to assist the Ukrainian economy and earlier this year the two nations signed an agricultural deal, which involves China making a huge commitment to Ukraine's farming sector over the next 50 years.

As part of the arrangement, China will lease large tracts of farmland and upgrade Ukrainian infrastructure in the process. Eventually, China and Ukraine will jointly farm almost three million hectares of land - an area the size of Belgium or Massachusetts.

SOURCE Ukraine Monitor