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Britain extends tariff-free trade with Ukraine for another five years

The government has said it will extend its tariff-free trade with Kyiv for the next five years amid Vladimir Putin's ongoing war in Ukraine.

The extended trade deal will be applicable to almost all goods with only a few exceptions until 2029, Rishi Sunak’s government said in a statement.

The move was "designed to help Ukrainian businesses impacted by the war and is the most generous tariff break offered by any country," it said.

Britain removed tariffs on all its trade with Ukraine after the war with Russia started two years ago in May 2022, and previously agreed the arrangement would last until March 2024.

The tariff-free trade would be extended on all goods for five years, except eggs and poultry which will be extended for two years, according to Britain's business and trade ministry. It added that British firms would also benefit from the removal of tariffs for exports to Ukraine.

"This agreement provides much needed long-term economic support to Ukraine, its businesses and people critical to its recovery," junior trade minister Greg Hands said, adding Britain's support would continue "for as long as is needed".

Mr Hands will formally sign the agreement to extend the trade deal with Ukraine’s first deputy prime minister Yuliia Svyrydenko in a virtual ceremony on Thursday.

William Bain, the head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the move, which he said would ease the supply chain access helping Ukraine's economy when under pressure due to the years-long war.

Britain has backed Ukraine's war effort by providing weapons and aid, as well as favourable trade terms including a new digital trade deal.

Ukraine in November 2022 signed a digital trade agreement, considered to be particularly important in the current conflict, where the fighting and the damage to infrastructure makes physical trade more difficult.

The agreement also allows for greater co-operation between the UK and Ukraine on cybersecurity and emerging technologies.

Mr Sunak in January announced the UK would provide £2.5bn in military aid to Ukraine in 2024, an increase of £200m on the previous two years.