11:10 AM Saturday, November 17, 2018 Friday, June 29
Trump to meet Putin and seek Crimea “trade-offs”; EU-US discuss Ukrainian energy reform; Balance of payments surplus; National budget deficit rises; Banks profitable; Ukraine a priority partner for Estonia.
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US says Russia's return to fold “inevitable” on basis of “trade-offs.” According to AP, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that President Donald Trump views Moscow's return to the international fold as inevitable and that "trade-offs" could allow it to rejoin the Group of Seven club of industrialized democracies without giving Crimea back to Ukraine. Pompeo's made the comments to the Senate Appropriations Committee as Trump's national security adviser met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to prepare for a summit between the two leaders next month in Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House he'll probably meet with Putin during a July trip to Europe, but the Kremlin has already announced the venue as Helsinki on 16 July.

EU and US discuss support of Ukrainian energy reform. The European Commission’s Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry have discussed support for energy reforms in Ukraine. “Our shared objectives: to boost energy security in Europe, with competitive LNG playing an important role, and to support Ukraine’s energy reforms. Looking forward to continue during the next EU-US Energy Council, hopefully in July,” Šefčovič wrote on Twitter following a meeting with Perry in Washington.

US insist anti-corruption court law must be amended. The United States considers it vital to adopt amendments to the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court and urges Ukrainian officials to make them as soon as possible, according to Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Jorgan Andrews. The U.S. official said part of the reforms required for Ukraine to receive the next IMF trance was tackling the influence of oligarchs and that it is precisely through efforts in fighting corruption that the U.S. can assess Ukraine's reform progress. After the publication of the text of Ukraine's new law on the Anti-Corruption Court, the Anti-Corruption Action Centre found a dangerous loophole in it slipped in at the very last minute. RFE/RL's Ukrainian service reports.

US abolishes anti-dumping customs tariffs for Ukrainian fertilizers. The U.S. Commerce Department has abolished the anti-dumping customs tariffs for Ukrainian ammonium nitrate, the press service of the Ministry for Agrarian Policy and Food reports. The reconsideration of the anti-dumping customs tariffs began in May, on the initiative of the U.S. Commerce Department. Ukrainian fertilizers will have the possibility to enter the American market. Earlier the tariff for the Ukrainian fertilizers was 156, 29%. They were established in September 2001. As reported earlier the Generalized System of Preferences, which allows for duty-free importation of more than 3,500 types of goods from Ukraine to the United States, has suspended 155 types of Ukrainian goods, 112UA reports.

Balance of payments surplus in May. In May 2018 it was estimated at USD 266 million. As was the case last year, the country's current account balance was close to zero, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) reports. The current account deficit for January-May 2018 expanded to USD 415 million from USD 308 million in the same period of 2017. Net capital inflow on the financial account in May 2018 was USD 307 million, foreign direct investment amounted to USD 150 million.

Deficit of national budget reaches UAH 9.2 billion. The deficit of the national budget in January-May 2018 totaled UAH 9.2 billion, while a year ago the surplus of the national budget was UAH 26.5 billion, the Finance Ministry reports, as summarized by Interfax-Ukraine. The deficit of the general fund of the national budget was UAH 14.2 billion, while last year it was UAH 6.6 billion. Budget expenditure in January-May 2018 was UAH 379.9 billion, 26.6% more than a year ago. Expenditure of the general fund grew by 24.8%, to UAH 354.1 billion. Revenue of the national budget rose by 13.5% y-o-o-y, to UAH 369.7 billion. Revenue of the general fund was 22.7% up, reaching UAH 337.7 billion. Tax payments grew by 18.3%, to UAH 298 billion. Payments of VAT grew by 18.3% in January-May 2018, to UAH 147.4 billion, while VAT refunds rose by 14.4%, to UAH 54.8 billion. Revenue of the budget from personal income tax grew by 22.5%, to UAH 34.1 billion.

Ukrainian banks profitable. In May they posted UAH 2.09 billion in net profit. The banking sector's net profit in the first five months amounted to UAH 12.812 billion, which was 87% more y-o-y (UAH 6.851 billion), the NBU said. The Banks' revenue in January-May amounted to UAH 78.275 billion, while expenses stood at UAH 65.463 billion. Ukraine's solvent banks resumed profitable work in Q1 2018: their combined financial result amounted to UAH 8.7 billion, which was 2.7 times higher than the first quarter of 2017, Interfax-Ukraine reports
Estonia views Ukraine as a key partner. “Ukraine remains a priority partner of Estonia. Since the beginning of the Maidan, Estonia has provided over EUR 10 million for development programs in Ukraine, including humanitarian assistance," Foreign Minister of Estonia Sven Mikser said at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Copenhagen, Ukrinform reports. Estonia will continue to support Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and emphasizes the importance of further reforms, especially in the fight against corruption. The foreign minister noted that Estonia helped Ukraine create an e-governance program that makes the work of the government more transparent and increases public confidence in it.

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