On July 11, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman together signed the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA). The agreement, signed in Kiev, is meant to further improve market access between the two countries, settle trade conditions, create jobs, and cement their status as allies. The Canadian government has been a fervent supporter of Ukraine ever since the nation's first clashes with Russia, which left Ukraine in war-torn, economically faltering conditions. Talks for CUFTA between the two countries had been going for months before final negotiations wrapped up last year. Now, the confirmation of CUFTA signifies Canada's continued support of Ukraine in the face of its struggles.
With CUFTA, Canada will open 98 percent of its market to exports from Ukraine. The deal will also completely remove trade restrictions and trade tariffs between the two nations (tariffs will only be removed after a period of three to seven years). With expanded free trade and closer economic ties, the countries hope to widen the range of industry products dealt across their borders. Areas such as energy, agriculture, infrastructure, and technology will be covered. In addition, Canada may be able to supply weapons to the Ukraine, continuing to fortify its defense. Canadian troops are already stationed in Kiev, so further troops and weaponry will be a marked of increased solidarity. It is worried that this action will draw the ire of the Russian government; however, Trudeau has made clear he wishes to keep supporting the Ukrainian government.
Even though CUFTA is an official agreement between Canada and Ukraine, it cannot go into effect just yet; the deal still has to be passed by the nations' respective parliaments. Both Trudeau and Poroshenko plan on domestically approving the agreement as soon as possible. If passed, CUFTA could prove beneficial to both nations, and serve as a beacon in the face of increased controversy over international free trade.