• Ukraine-EU trade turnover has risen 6 percent since January, when the comprehensive free trade agreement came into force, multiple sources reported. The EU now accounts for 41 percent of Ukraine’s foreign trade in goods.
• German company KWS Ukraine, a producer and distributor of seeds for agriculture, opened a $22 million plant in Kamyanets Podilskyi, according to a Novoe Vremya report. The plant has a capacity of 6,000 tons of seeds per year. Seed production will be for domestic consumption, but the company also has plans to export seeds.
• The Rada is considering a bill that would eliminate the VAT on Jan. 1, Ekonomicheskaya Pravda reported. As a result, many goods would be cheaper, including automobiles, which Avtotsentr said could end up costing 20 percent less.
• The Ukrainian economy, according to one modest estimate, lost $42.2 million in 2015 as a result of African swine fever, Ukrinform reported. And the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization forecasts possibly 117 outbreaks of the disease in Ukraine next year, with about $19 million in losses projected.
• Ukraine opened its natural gas market to European suppliers and quickly signed three contracts for transportation and handling, according to multiple sources. Deals were signed with French company Engie, Swiss company DufEnergy and TrailStone Energy, which has a representative in Ukraine.
• Ukraine and the European Union officially became strategic energy partners with the signing of a memorandum of understanding, Ukrinform reported. The memorandum fully integrates the energy markets of both parties.
• The Konstantinov hydroelectric station was sold for 64 million hryvnia ($2.4 million) at an auction that drew 16 bidders, Zyerkalo Nedyeli reported. On Tuesday, another small hydropower station was auctioned for 52.5 million hryvnia ($2 million).
• Prime Minister Volodomyr Groysman expressed hope that Ukraine and Israel will ink a free trade area agreement next year, according to assorted sources.
• Odesa’s AGE, which makes premium phone accessories including a holster called the Phonester, blew past its latest crowdfunding goal of $5,000 by raising more than five times that in just the first day, ain.ua reported. In the first 24 hours, the business brought in $26,000, and it still has 40 days left in the campaign. Main markets for the Phonester are the U.S., Canada, Australia, Malaysia, France, Great Britain and Japan.
• The Agriculture Ministry is launching a pilot project to improve grain quality in the Mykolaiv, Odessa, Kirovohrad and Poltava regions, Ukrinform reported. The project was initiated by the International Finance Corporation and will last for three years.