European Business Association held the meeting with Volodymyr Hroisman, Prime Minister of Ukraine. At the meeting Mr Hroisman highlighted main priorities and commitments of the Government regarding improvement of business climate and addressing topical issues voiced by the EBA members.
Representatives of business community and top officials joined the meeting as well. In particular, Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Regional Development, Building and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, Oleksandr Saienko, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Taras Kutovyi, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, Oksana Markarova, Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine.
In his opening speech, Mr Hroisman thanked the companies for their contribution to the Ukrainian economy and stressed the importance of investments in the stabilization of economic situation. Today, the Government has a task to speed up economic growth in the country, thus the work on comprehensive improvement of legislation continues. Prime Minister paid special attention to the issue of liquidation of the tax police and voiced his support for the systematic reload and creation of the Financial Investigation Service. «Honest business should feel comfortable» - Prime Minister said.
Tomas Fiala,President of the European Business Association, noted that Ukraine opened this year with good economic indicators, which is a positive signal. Of course, it would be difficult to achieve this without the income of investments. However, to keep existing and attract new investors we need to resolve a number of problems that hinder business. First of all, it is referred to corruption in the courts and law authorities. In particular, business expects and fully supports the creation of new Financial Service Investigation. In addition, the country's successful cooperation with the International Monetary Fund is an important indicator for investors. In this context, the business supports those innovations which implementation is a prerequisite for cooperation with the IMF. This is, above all, pension and land reform. Land market liberalization will promote investment in the country, which will give investors a confidence in the stability of the national currency and the internal market.
Representatives from the companies attracted the Prime Minister’s attention to the number of priority issues that requires the response from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. In particular, agrochemical business noted the problem of constant delays in the approval of hygienic standards and regulations necessary for the state registration of crop protection products. Companies also drew attention to the need to address the issue of cross-border transportation of obsolete pesticides and problems with the import of samples to the country.
Grain business raised the issue of forming grain export batches of different classes and the need to speed up the implementation of this mechanism in practice. Also, companies experience delays in obtaining certain documents and draw attention to the need to improve infrastructure, as logistics can significantly affect the efficiency of the grain companies.
Veterinary drugs producers report that their companies develop innovative products in the field of biotechnology, aimed at protecting the health of animals, but due to gaps in the legislation are not able to register them. Business highlights the need for appropriate amendments to current legislation that will address this issue in the long-term. Companies also drew the Government’s attention to the spread of ASF in Ukraine since the disease creates a significant threat to national food security.
As for now, providing full public access to high-quality medicines and leveling limitation of any physical accessibility to medicines are the priority issues in the health care. Pharmacies suspend the purchase of medicines in the context of absence of clear official information on the introduction of the reimbursement mechanism. Companies expresses the hope that the Government will provide clear explanation as soon as possible on patients’ full access to all medicines, regardless of their inclusion in the reimbursement program.
Also, business stressed the support of equal conditions for both local and foreign pharmaceutical companies in Ukraine. Therefore, cancellation of VAT on transactions of supply of medicines just for the only one part of the producers would witness the absence of equal approach to all market players. In addition, such legislative changes would conflict with certain provisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
As for the industry of consumer electronics, smuggling and proper protection of intellectual property rights are burning issues. Business strongly supports the introduction of the national exhaustion principle of the intellectual property rights in Ukraine. It can be done by adopting the Draft Law №5419, registered in the Verkhovna Rada by a group of MPs. This Draft Law is supported not only by the VRU Committee on Education and Science and business community, but also by the EU Delegation to Ukraine. As of today, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine does not support this initiative. We hope that after the meeting the Government will pay attention to this issue one again and support the position of the business.
During the discussion, participants also raised topical issues of waste management, business operations in the ports, certain issues of technical regulation, improvement of the efficiency of document circulation.
The Prime Minister noted that the creation of artificial barriers to business is unacceptable and expressed readiness to work with all reported issues in order to offer specific solutions for each of them. He said the pension and land reforms, complex changes in health care, protection of the interests of domestic producers without violating the external agreements and increase the scale of exports are main priorities for the Government. The Cabinet of Ministers will keep an eye on the judicial reform, which is of utmost importance for business operating in Ukraine.
We extend our gratitude to Mr Hroisman and all those present for their commitment to an open and productive dialogue with business. We will keep an eye on the reforms and hope for the effective solution of issues raised by the EBA members during the meeting.