- Elon Musk’s SpaceX has chartered an Antonov Airlines AN-124-100 cargo jet to carry a 28-ton carrier rocket nose cone across the US this week, from Los Angeles to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Known as the ‘Ruslan,’ this massive plane was the only strategic airlift jet capable of handling such oversized cargo.
- By this summer, TIU Canada is to complete a $90 million, 90 mw network of five solar power plants in southern Ukraine. The first project, a 10.5 MW plant in Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk, recently went on line. One more is to be built in Kherson and three more in Mykolaiv. Novoye Vremya reports that reported that engineering is done by Helios Strategia of France and Focal Line Solar of the United States. Panels and equipment are supplied by JA Solar Holdings of China and SMA Solar Technology of Germany. TIU is owned by Refraction Asset Management, a Canadian investment company.
- The Beskidy railway tunnel, designed to speed freight from Ukraine to Hungary and Slovakia, will open May 25, according to Ukrinform. The new 1.8 km double track tunnel cuts under a Carpathian mountain spines separating Lviv and Zakarpattia regions. It is to end bottlenecks caused by the existing single track tunnel, built in 1886. The $120 million new tunnel is funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank and Ukrzaliznytsia, the state railroad.
- A 5-year, $11 billion program to rebuild and repair Ukraine’s highways was approved Thursday by the Cabinet of Ministers. The plan calls for rebuilding 1,000 km of highways and repairing 9,100 km. The project would create 55,000 jobs. Interfax reports: “The program aims to create a modern network of highways that will increase traffic and improve the investment climate and ensure the efficiency of transport services.”
- Ukraine’s vehicle production increased by 63% last year, to 8,586 vehicles, according to the car industry trade association, Ukrautoprom. In the late Soviet era, Ukraine produced 200,000 cars a year. Several foreign car companies are studying manufacturing cars in Ukraine. Slowing decision making is uncertainty about the speed of Europe’s shift to electric and hybrid cars.
- Saying “even our closest friends must play by the rules," US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has slapped anti-dumping duties on Ukrainian steel wire rod. Subject to final approval by March 1, the duties range from 35% to 44%. Interfax reports that American pressure for tariff protection came after Ukraine’s exports to the US of carbon and alloy steel wire rod more than doubled in 2016, to 146,470 tons, or $55 million.
- TrailStone, a US energy trader, is applying for a license to trade natural gas in Ukraine, according to the website of the National Commission for Regulation of Energy and Utilities. So far, the commission has licensed about 300 energy traders, many of them foreign. The commission will consider TrailStone’s application on Tuesday.
- The EU-Ukraine free trade accord may be the best model for Britain’s post Brexit relationship with the EU, writes Tony Barber, Europe Editor of the Financial Times. He cites “an excellent paper on the EU-Ukraine accord” written by Erika Szyszczak of the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory. Attractive to Brexiters, the EU-Ukraine accord allows extensive access to the EU market, without offering a path to membership in the EU or the EU Customs Union. Ukraine’s accord calls for close defense and foreign affairs cooperation, without uncontrolled movement of people. Noting continental Europe’s move toward a closer union, Barber concludes: “To the extent that a more integrated Europe takes shape, the most comfortable place for the UK, Ukraine and Turkey may be outside the EU, but closely associated with it.”
- Strengthening ties with China was one of Ukraine's top economic achievements of 2017, Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Wednesday. Trade between China and Ukraine increased 18% to $7.7 billion. In reporting the announcement, China’s news agency, Xinhua highlighted the bilateral Belt and Road action plan signed by both countries. It called last month’s visit to Kyiv of Ma Kai, a Chinese Vice Premier, “a powerful signal of the strengthened economic partnership.”
- Ukraine should start to regulate the crypto currency market, Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine argued Thursday at a meeting of the National Cyber Security Coordination Center. According to Ukrinform, Turchynov said: “Taking into account the rapid development of the crypto currency market in the world, this issue cannot be left unaddressed by the state.” Ignoring this issue and the legal vacuum "poses a threat to the economy and security of the state." In response, the Center instructed authorities to develop a mechanism to ensure access by law enforcement agencies to data from crypto currency exchanges. A working group is to determine the state regulator for a crypto currency market, the procedure for monitoring transactions using crypto currencies, identification of subjects of crypto-currency transactions, and the means of taxing profits from transactions.
- Peter Wagner, Head of European Commission’s Support Group for Ukraine, is to arrive in Kyiv next week to discuss reviving EU macro economic aid to Ukraine. On Wednesday, Hugues Mingarelli, head of the EU Delegation here, told Ukrainian Radio that the European Commission cannot now provide a planned EUR 600 million tranche of aid because Ukraine failed to comply with four out of 21 conditions. Now, he said, specialists are assessing “the possibility of providing such new macro-financial assistance.”
- Halfway through the marketing year, Ukraine has exported 52% more oil seeds than last year, 3.5 million tons versus 2.3 million tons. The big growth is in rapeseed which has been exported at double the volume of last year, Finance.ua reports. The seeds are crushed to make canola cooking oil.
- Now one of the world’s top five honey exporters, Ukraine’s exports climbed again last year, by 19%, to 68,000 tons. In dollars, exports increased by 38% to $134 million, four times the amount of 2012. This year EU’s duty free import quota rises by 46% to 7,900 tons. Exports above that level pay a 17.3% duty. The top buyers are: Germany, U.S, Poland, France and Belgium.
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UBJ a.m. is reported by UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow bureau chief. For comments and story tips, Brooke is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org