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Ukrainian, Croatian PMs discuss cooperation in trade, tourism, digitalization.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic have discussed the deepening of cooperation in the trade, economic, tourism, digitalization and education spheres, according to the Ukrainian government's website.

Their meeting, held in Kyiv on Wednesday, December 8, was also attended by Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Serhiy Shkarlet, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Mykola Tochytskyi, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia Gordan Grlic-Radman, and Minister of Science and Education of Croatia Radovan Fuchs, the report said.

Read also: Moldova’s Parliament ratifies amendments to free trade agreement with Ukraine

Shmyhal said that Ukraine and Croatia have significant prospects for the development of bilateral trade and economic relations, with an increase currently seen in trade turnover. In the first nine months of 2021, the total turnover of goods and services between Ukraine and Croatia amounted to $90.1 million, or over 24% more than in the same period in 2020.

"We are interested in intensifying trade and economic cooperation with Croatia in the traditional sectors of our economies, continuing to remove barriers to bilateral trade and simplifying for doing business, and launching bilateral cooperation in new areas, including digitalization and coordination of efforts in the fight against the pandemic," Shmyhal said.

According to him, Ukraine and Croatia could be jointly interested in the field of information technology and digitalization. He added that Ukraine seeks to join the EU's digital single market, modern technologies and the world market.

"Digitalization is one of the main vectors of development of the Ukrainian economy in the coming years. I am convinced that our experience in this area can be useful to our Croatian partners," Shmyhal said.

According to him, it is promising for both countries to intensify cooperation in the metallurgical and shipbuilding sectors, in the field of agribusiness, including irrigation, as well as in the energy sector. Shmyhal stressed the importance of connecting the Ukrainian energy system to the European ENTSO-E system in the context of ensuring Europe's energy security.

In addition, Shmyhal said that the tourism industry occupies an important place in relations between Ukraine and Croatia.

"We strive to develop the tourist flow and reach a new level of cooperation so that Ukrainians and Croats could experience all the benefits of recreation in our countries. Ukraine has concluded a Common Aviation Area Agreement with the EU. This will give impetus to the development of air services and open up new opportunities for our citizens," Shmyhal said.

Plenkovic, in turn, said that Croatia supports Ukraine's aspirations for integration into the European Union and seeks to share its experience. According to him, Croatia will support the presence of Ukrainian companies in the Croatian market. Plenkovic also added that they will facilitate the opening of offices of Croatian travel agencies in Ukraine.

Shmyhal thanked Croatia and Plenkovic for joining the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform this August and for Croatia's unwavering stance on the non-recognition of Russia's purported annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

According to Shmyhal, Ukraine highly appreciates Croatia's readiness to share the experience of peaceful reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories and post-war reconstruction.

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