• With the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement taking full effect today, President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page that Ukraine’s trade with the EU countries has grown by 22% during six months of this year to reach almost 40% of total trade. He added: “A historical change of the geographical structure of Ukrainian exports has taken place in favor of increasing its volume to the EU countries.”
• Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan told the European Business Association on Thursday that he aims to attract three European discount airlines next year. He said: "I hope that next year we will be able to welcome Ukraine Ryanair, EasyJet and Eurowings. This is not only cheap flights to Ukraine but also to attract tourists to the country."
• OPIC has approved two new Ukraine projects: $10 million to Ukraine's Agroprosperis Bank to support lending to small and medium farmers in Ukraine, and $7.8 million to Ukraine's Bank Vostok to expand lending to businesses in rural areas. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is the US development financing arm charged with helping US companies overseas. OPIC did not cite any American connection to the projects. As part of a visit this week to Kyiv by the agency’s CEO, Ray W. Washburne, OPIC announced its current investment portfolio in Ukraine totals $522 million across 18 projects.
• Separately, Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk discussed with Washburne insurance for a $250 million loan to build a spent nuclear fuel storage facility for Energoatom. The loan would be made by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and would cover purchase of equipment and services from American companies.
• Energoatom plans invest $200 million in international aid next year to upgrade the safety Ukraine’s nuclear power plans. The aid, covering one third of the safety program will come from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
• An International Monetary Fund will come to Kyiv Sept. 12-13, a government officials told Interfax-Ukraine.
• Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s vice president in charge of energy, will visit Kyiv mid-September. Prime Minister Volodymur Groysman wrote on his Facebook page that he informed Šefčovič, that Ukraine has adopted the laws for creating ‘the Energy Efficiency Fund in Ukraine.’ In June, Šefčovič, a Slovak diplomat, said that he would help raising EUR 100 million in contributions from EU member countries for this fund.
• SCM bought 25 percent blocking stakes in power companies Dniproenergo and Dniprooblenergo for a total UAH 1.7 billion, or $67 million, according to the State Property Fund. of Ukraine.
• Moody’s has upgraded MHP, Metinvest and Ferrexpo ratings to Caa1, which is one notch above Ukraine’s sovereign rating. Moody's also upgraded to positive the rating outlook for Metinvest and MHP (from neutral), while retaining its neutral outlook for Ferrexpo.
• Ukraine will maintain defense spending at about 5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2018, according to Oleksandr Turchynov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council. Ukraine plans to spend $6.4 billion on defense next year. More than 90 percent will be allocated from the general-purpose fund of the state budget, Turchynov said. Prior to Russia’s surprise attacks in 2014, Ukraine spent about 1.5 percent of GDP on defense.
• Nearly 300 companies from 11 countries are to take part in Arms and Security 2017, the arms show in Kyiv Oct. 10-13. Foreign exhibitors include Turkish Aselsan and Roketsan, U.S. Night Vision Devices, Chinese BACEI, French Rockwell Collins France and Ouvry, Polish PGZ and WB Electronics, Israeli Opgal Optronic Industries, Italian CMS Industries, German Rohde & Shwarz, Pakistani DEPO and UAE's International Armored Group.
• Ukraine's largest center for the issuing of foreign biometric passports and ID cards opened in Kyiv on Tuesday. Equipped to handle 1,500 citizens a day, the center at Ukraina shopping mall has 28 work stations and employs 100 people. Passports will be issued to Ukrainians regardless of place of residential registration, according Volodymyr Polishchuk, press secretary of the state-run Document enterprise, told Ukrinform.
• A record pilgrimage of 40,000 Orthodox Jews may come to Uman for Rosh Hashanah, which falls this year on Sept. 20, the Times of Israel reports. This would be about 25 percent more than last year. The growing annual pilgrimage is prompting authorities to study reopening a disused military airport near Uman for direct charter flights. Pilgrims are served by flights from Tel Aviv to Kyiv’s two airports and to Vinnytsia, two hours and 160 km to the west.
• Uber is expanding its service beyond Ukraine’s five top tier cities to Vinnytsia, a city in central Ukraine with about 400,000 people. Vinnytsia, where Prime Minister Groysman served as mayor from 2006 to 2014, is seeing new investment. Japanese car parts manufacturer Fujikura is to open a plant there in coming months. In addition to charter flights to Turkey and Israel, Vinnytsia’s International Airport started offering last year direct scheduled flights on Ukraine International Airlines to Tel Aviv and to Warsaw.
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