•In 2016, Ukraine imported 33 percent less natural gas than it did in 2015, multiple sources reported. The main exporters were Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Ukraine has not imported natural gas under its contract with Russia’s Gazprom for 13 months, relying solely on Western suppliers for gas imports. Ukraine also increased its transit of natural gas by 23 percent and its production of natural gas by almost 1 percent in 2016.
•An affiliate of Ukroboronprom is teaming up with a U.S. company to manufacture small arms in Ukraine under NATO standards, including the American military’s M16 rifle, according to multiple reports that cited an announcement posted on Ukroboronprom’s website. Ukraine's transition to NATO standards is part of its strategy to reform and develop the domestic defense industry
•The Economic Development and Trade Ministry registered the Zhytomyr-East industrial park on a 25-hectare site, Interfax Ukraine reported. The park will have businesses engaged in a broad range of activities, which include production of construction materials, engineering, instrument engineering, wood processing, light industrial, IT, a logistics center and an aircraft service and repair facility.
•ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih boosted steel smelting by over 15 percent in 2016, hitting the company target of 7 million tons and achieving an output level it hadn’t reached since 2008, multiple news outlets reported. The company has a slate of major investment projects on the agenda for 2017.
•Energy provider Kyivenergo lowered the prices it charges business customers starting Jan. 1, Novoe Vremya reported. Under the new rate structure, businesses in the capital will pay 7 to 15 percent less in energy costs.
•Ukraine's wheat and millet production decreased in 2016, but the country's gross grain yield for the year nevertheless came in at 4 million tons higher than the previous year's record amount, Ukrinform reported.
•Exports of all types of unprocessed timber from Ukraine have been banned effective this month, the BBC Ukrainian Service reported. No other details were included.
•Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman predicted 25 percent growth in the revenues of local budgets in 2017. He said local authorities will have greater responsibility, adding that regional decentralization depends on their efficiency.
•Ukraine’s VAT refunds in 2016 totaled 40 percent more than the 2015 amount, Interfax Ukraine reported, citing the State Fiscal Service.
•In the January-October period, Ukraine exported $4.5 million worth of Christmas decorations to 25 countries, a deputy economic development and trade minister was cited by Interfax Ukraine as saying. Although the main market was the European Union, exports to Canada increase fourteenfold, while Russia continued its precipitous drop with a 54 percent reduction.
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