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30 years of Ukraine’s independence: what has changed for different areas of business?

23/ 08/ 2021
  On August 24, Ukraine will celebrate a landmark event – the 30th anniversary of independence. Despite being a young country, Ukraine surely has a long and vibrant history. During the years of independence, many changes have taken place that affected the lives of both ordinary Ukrainians and businesses. Over the last 30 years, Ukraine has determined its ultimate national paradigm, as well as the pro-European course of development. Our country has overcome many challenges and continues to do so on a daily basis, upholding the territorial integrity and progressive movement. For all that time, Ukraine had 6 presidents, 16 prime ministers, and 9 convocations of the Verkhovna Rada. A new Ukrainian currency and Constitution appeared, revolutions broke out, Ukrainians visited space and the country became an Antarctic state, Ukrainian athletes took over the first places at pinnacle sports competitions, Ukraine signed an Association Agreement with the EU and joined a visa-free regime. Meanwhile, the reforms are being gradually introduced to all sectors of the economy, state institutions, interaction of the state with business and its people. Besides, radical reforms in the most important spheres and industries for the country are being carried out. Thus, Ukraine continues its course on fighting corruption, building modern institutions, and improving the business climate to create an attractive environment to work and attract investment in Ukraine. For the last 22 years, the European Business Association, founded in 1999, has been an active participant and driver of these strategic changes. All these years we have followed and joined all the significant events and processes that changed our country for the better, suffered defeats, and celebrated victories together with a large Ukrainian community. Our history began with 2 employees and 52 companies, and today we have grown into the most influential and largest business association in Ukraine. We work to enable our companies to join the efforts and address issues important to Ukraines investment climate and improve it for the benefit of industry, society, the economy, and the country as a whole. Today, the EBA unites 948 companies from different countries and industries. And we would like to avail of this opportunity to ask the Chairs of our Committees as the business representatives what has changed in their industries in 30 years in the context of defeats and victories. By this, we would be able to track the development of key markets in Ukraine. We are very grateful to our experts for their active participation in community life and contribution to economic development. Below, you can learn more on the expert comments: Victor Evert, Zoetis. Chair of the EBA Animal Health Committee. Since independence, the veterinary medicine in Ukraine has come a long way from the first law in 1992 to its full update in 2021. It should be noted that the harmonization of Ukrainian legislation to European standards is one of the greatest achievements for the industry. We were actively involved in the development of updates and provided our expert comments. The new law on veterinary medicine takes into account many European norms and rules and, hopefully, it will be proper implemented. However, I believe that the biggest defeat of Ukrainian veterinary medicine is the lack of quality standards for the production of animal medicines, the rules of their sale, use, and, most importantly, control. Unfortunately, I want to note that today there is a large share of drugs of dubious quality, as well as counterfeits in the Ukrainian market. Oleksii Koltok, Sayenko Kharenko. Chair of the EBA Legal Committee, Kharkiv. In 30 years, Ukraine has made many attempts to reform the justice system. Various concepts, approaches, and dispute resolution procedures have changed. Judicial enforcement procedures have been reformed, and private executors have appeared. The execution of judicial decisions has become more effective. The bankruptcy procedure has been radically changed. A new Supreme Court has been established and we can see a shift from a formal to a substantive approach to litigation. Judgments have become fairer. However, judicial reform has not been completed. Only now legislative changes have taken place, which, we hope, may have a real result shortly. Serhiy Badritdinov, INTERTOP Ukraine. Vice-Chair of the EBA Retail Committee. To my mind, the main achievement of retail for 30 years of independence is the emergence and development of powerful online and offline players in Ukraine. Such a model set an example for the European market, as well as new standards of quality shopping experience. Ukrainian retailers offer consumers excellent service, introduce unique technologies and innovative design concepts. Meanwhile, I am convinced that the main defeat is the lack of a clear and consistent strategy of interaction between the state and business. Authorities are very slow to simplify the rules of doing business, thereby fueling the gray sector. This slows down the development of the Ukrainian economy and the state in general. Igor Nazarov, Brown-Forman Ukraine. Chair of the EBA Wine and Spirits Committee. In 30 years Ukraine has overcome a very difficult path - from “Royal” alcohol and the uncontrolled vodka market to the current awareness of responsible alcohol consumption and full integration of global brands into the industry. Natalia Anokhina, Arzinger. Chair of the EBA Legal Committee, Western Ukrainian Office. Distrust in the justice system is the gravest caveat for doing business in Ukraine. An inefficient judiciary creates conditions for corruption, abuse, or, conversely, the inaction of law enforcement agencies, non-compliance with contractual obligations. It also eliminates all legal guarantees provided to the business. Unfortunately, the biggest DEFEAT of the state in these 30 years, despite numerous attempts to change it, is the lack of an effective justice system. Nevertheless, on the way to this goal, there were ACHIEVEMENTS. These include the introduction of a system of private performers, the establishment of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court, the introduction of an effective system of registration of rights and electronic public registers, both for property rights and objects and for business entities. Although they are small, those steps provide for a reduction in bureaucratic procedures, security, and transparency. Bogdan Tsupryk, Swisspan Limited. Chair of the EBA Woodworking & Furniture Committee. Thanks to several adequate state decisions on the protection of domestic producers (in particular, anti-dumping measures and the introduction of a moratorium on the export of raw wood), the woodworking industry in Ukraine has received a significant impetus to development. At the same time, most of the current problems in the field can be solved with the adoption of legislation on the timber market aimed at providing raw materials to domestic woodworking enterprises and efficient use of forest resources. Anna Dobrynets, Imperial Tobacco. Chair of the EBA HR Committee. Over 30 years, attitudes toward the employer have changed significantly - more and more people are paying attention to the value proposition, the benefits that an employee receives from a particular employer. Business becomes more human-oriented with an understanding of the value of human capital. Many processes have been digitalized, which greatly simplifies administration, although the issue of labor law reform is still open, and many things need to be improved. Unfortunately, a large number of companies still practice informal employment or pay gray salaries. The legalization of labor relations and wages has a direct impact on the welfare of the state and each Ukrainian. After all, due to the shadow employment market, the state loses significant funds from unpaid taxes, and workers do not receive legal social guarantees. Ensuring the confidence and security of people is the key to a more effective contribution of everyone to the development of their own, as well as of the company and the state. And fortunately, people are becoming more demanding and selective in choosing an employer, paying more and more attention to formal employment. At the same time, the state keeps this issue in mind, creating favorable conditions for deshadowing the company. Iryna Protopopova, DTEK. Co-Chair of the EBA Energy Committee. The key achievements in the energy sector of Ukraine over the past 30 years: 1) Liberalization of energy markets. New models of Ukraine′s electricity and natural gas markets are built according to European rules, which strengthens the country′s integration into the EU. The reform of the energy sector has created an incentive for new producers to emerge, and consumers have been able to fully experience the benefits of competitive markets. 2) Private investors have created a new industry of renewable energy sources. Thanks to regulatory incentives, investment in RES has exceeded $ 12 billion over the past 10 years. This is the largest private investment in the history of Ukraine′s independence. 3) Ukraine has synchronized its energy development with global trends. Simultaneously with the leading countries, we are developing energy storage systems, as well as studying the possible use of hydrogen as an energy source.  Volodymyr Beck, Sigma Software. Chair of the EBA Information Technologies Committee. The formation of the IT industry was due to the successful implementation of a range of key tasks: construction and development of IT business ecosystem, accumulation of expertise, formation, and development of IT education. But the basis of stable and constant growth of the IT-sphere was a flexible contractual model of interaction with human capital, which corresponds to the specifics of mobile and dynamic IT. Now the industry has entered a new stage of development when the service direction catalyzes the emergence of quality startups, and the technical level of specialists and the synergy of all participants lay a solid foundation for further development of the industry. Therefore, the main defeat may befall us in the future: if certain global or local changes destroy the achievements, worldwide recognition, and future prospects of the industry. But, I hope, such a scenario will remain only in theory. Mykhailo Kotovenko, Groupe SEB. Chair of the EBA Consumer Electronics Committee. The main achievement of our industry is that there is free trade in Ukraine. And the international companies that form the basis of the European Business Association are beacons of the world′s best practices of doing business in the ocean of predatory Ukrainian capitalism. Looking back 30 years ago: apart from individual joint ventures, there was just late socialism, “perestroika”, cut coupons, and product queues. Nothing more. So, on birthdays, a toast is usually raised for success and not for defeat – it will be bizarre. In general, we have a great shortage of positive news in the country, the focus is usually on zrada (betrayal). Yes, these years were chaotic, there were both rise and fall for business. But despite internal instability, changes in legislation, crises, and revolutions multiplied by the war in the East - the consumer electronics sector and its sale are growing, as is Ukraine′s economy, the welfare of the population is increasing and capitalism is confidently moving our country forward, increasing incomes and effective demand. These 30 years have also shown that we, as a country, have great potential, not only in Kyiv but also in other regional centers. Potential that includes human, technological, agricultural aspects. And it depends on the daily small steps forward whether we will become one of the best countries of Europe and the world to live in or whether we will remain a third world country. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of Independence – I give my warm congratulations to everyone and wish growth, prosperity, and daily small steps forward!

On August 24, Ukraine will celebrate a landmark event – the 30th anniversary of independence. Despite being a young country, Ukraine surely has a long and vibrant history. During the years of independence, many changes have taken place that affected the lives of both ordinary Ukrainians and businesses.

Over the last 30 years, Ukraine has determined its ultimate national paradigm, as well as the pro-European course of development. Our country has overcome many challenges and continues to do so on a daily basis, upholding the territorial integrity and progressive movement.

For all that time, Ukraine had 6 presidents, 16 prime ministers, and 9 convocations of the Verkhovna Rada. A new Ukrainian currency and Constitution appeared, revolutions broke out, Ukrainians visited space and the country became an Antarctic state, Ukrainian athletes took over the first places at pinnacle sports competitions, Ukraine signed an Association Agreement with the EU and joined a visa-free regime.

Meanwhile, the reforms are being gradually introduced to all sectors of the economy, state institutions, interaction of the state with business and its people. Besides, radical reforms in the most important spheres and industries for the country are being carried out. Thus, Ukraine continues its course on fighting corruption, building modern institutions, and improving the business climate to create an attractive environment to work and attract investment in Ukraine.

For the last 22 years, the European Business Association, founded in 1999, has been an active participant and driver of these strategic changes. All these years we have followed and joined all the significant events and processes that changed our country for the better, suffered defeats, and celebrated victories together with a large Ukrainian community.

Our history began with 2 employees and 52 companies, and today we have grown into the most influential and largest business association in Ukraine. We work to enable our companies to join the efforts and address issues important to Ukraine’s investment climate and improve it for the benefit of industry, society, the economy, and the country as a whole.

Today, the EBA unites 948 companies from different countries and industries. And we would like to avail of this opportunity to ask the Chairs of our Committees as the business representatives what has changed in their industries in 30 years in the context of defeats and victories. By this, we would be able to track the development of key markets in Ukraine. We are very grateful to our experts for their active participation in community life and contribution to economic development. Below, you can learn more on the expert comments:

Victor Evert, Zoetis Chair of the EBA Animal Health Committee
Since independence, the veterinary medicine in Ukraine has come a long way from the first law in 1992 to its full update in 2021. It should be noted that the harmonization of Ukrainian legislation to European standards is one of the greatest achievements for the industry. We were actively involved in the development of updates and provided our expert comments. The new law on veterinary medicine takes into account many European norms and rules and, hopefully, it will be proper implemented. However, I believe that the biggest defeat of Ukrainian veterinary medicine is the lack of quality standards for the production of animal medicines, the rules of their sale, use, and, most importantly, control. Unfortunately, I want to note that today there is a large share of drugs of dubious quality, as well as counterfeits in the Ukrainian market.
Oleksii Koltok, Sayenko Kharenko Chair of the EBA Legal Committee, Kharkiv
In 30 years, Ukraine has made many attempts to reform the justice system. Various concepts, approaches, and dispute resolution procedures have changed. Judicial enforcement procedures have been reformed, and private executors have appeared. The execution of judicial decisions has become more effective. The bankruptcy procedure has been radically changed. A new Supreme Court has been established and we can see a shift from a formal to a substantive approach to litigation. Judgments have become fairer. However, judicial reform has not been completed. Only now legislative changes have taken place, which, we hope, may have a real result shortly.
Serhiy Badritdinov, INTERTOP Ukraine Vice-Chair of the EBA Retail Committee
To my mind, the main achievement of retail for 30 years of independence is the emergence and development of powerful online and offline players in Ukraine. Such a model set an example for the European market, as well as new standards of quality shopping experience. Ukrainian retailers offer consumers excellent service, introduce unique technologies and innovative design concepts. Meanwhile, I am convinced that the main defeat is the lack of a clear and consistent strategy of interaction between the state and business. Authorities are very slow to simplify the rules of doing business, thereby fueling the gray sector. This slows down the development of the Ukrainian economy and the state in general.
Igor Nazarov, Brown-Forman Ukraine Chair of the EBA Wine and Spirits Committee
In 30 years Ukraine has overcome a very difficult path - from “Royal” alcohol and the uncontrolled vodka market to the current awareness of responsible alcohol consumption and full integration of global brands into the industry.
Natalia Anokhina, Arzinger Chair of the EBA Legal Committee, Western Ukrainian Office
Distrust in the justice system is the gravest caveat for doing business in Ukraine. An inefficient judiciary creates conditions for corruption, abuse, or, conversely, the inaction of law enforcement agencies, non-compliance with contractual obligations. It also eliminates all legal guarantees provided to the business. Unfortunately, the biggest DEFEAT of the state in these 30 years, despite numerous attempts to change it, is the lack of an effective justice system. Nevertheless, on the way to this goal, there were ACHIEVEMENTS. These include the introduction of a system of private performers, the establishment of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court, the introduction of an effective system of registration of rights and electronic public registers, both for property rights and objects and for business entities. Although they are small, those steps provide for a reduction in bureaucratic procedures, security, and transparency.
Bogdan Tsupryk, Swisspan Limited Chair of the EBA Woodworking & Furniture Committee
Thanks to several adequate state decisions on the protection of domestic producers (in particular, anti-dumping measures and the introduction of a moratorium on the export of raw wood), the woodworking industry in Ukraine has received a significant impetus to development. At the same time, most of the current problems in the field can be solved with the adoption of legislation on the timber market aimed at providing raw materials to domestic woodworking enterprises and efficient use of forest resources.
Anna Dobrynets, Imperial Tobacco Chair of the EBA HR Committee
Over 30 years, attitudes toward the employer have changed significantly - more and more people are paying attention to the value proposition, the benefits that an employee receives from a particular employer. Business becomes more human-oriented with an understanding of the value of human capital. Many processes have been digitalized, which greatly simplifies administration, although the issue of labor law reform is still open, and many things need to be improved. Unfortunately, a large number of companies still practice informal employment or pay "gray" salaries. The legalization of labor relations and wages has a direct impact on the welfare of the state and each Ukrainian. After all, due to the shadow employment market, the state loses significant funds from unpaid taxes, and workers do not receive legal social guarantees. Ensuring the confidence and security of people is the key to a more effective contribution of everyone to the development of their own, as well as of the company and the state. And fortunately, people are becoming more demanding and selective in choosing an employer, paying more and more attention to formal employment. At the same time, the state keeps this issue in mind, creating favorable conditions for "deshadowing" the company.
Iryna Protopopova, DTEK Co-Chair of the EBA Energy Committee
The key achievements in the energy sector of Ukraine over the past 30 years: 1) Liberalization of energy markets. New models of Ukraine′s electricity and natural gas markets are built according to European rules, which strengthens the country′s integration into the EU. The reform of the energy sector has created an incentive for new producers to emerge, and consumers have been able to fully experience the benefits of competitive markets. 2) Private investors have created a new industry of renewable energy sources. Thanks to regulatory incentives, investment in RES has exceeded $ 12 billion over the past 10 years. This is the largest private investment in the history of Ukraine′s independence. 3) Ukraine has synchronized its energy development with global trends. Simultaneously with the leading countries, we are developing energy storage systems, as well as studying the possible use of hydrogen as an energy source.
Volodymyr Beck, Sigma Software Chair of the EBA Information Technologies Committee
The formation of the IT industry was due to the successful implementation of a range of key tasks: construction and development of IT business ecosystem, accumulation of expertise, formation, and development of IT education. But the basis of stable and constant growth of the IT-sphere was a flexible contractual model of interaction with human capital, which corresponds to the specifics of mobile and dynamic IT. Now the industry has entered a new stage of development when the service direction catalyzes the emergence of quality startups, and the technical level of specialists and the synergy of all participants lay a solid foundation for further development of the industry. Therefore, the main defeat may befall us in the future: if certain global or local changes destroy the achievements, worldwide recognition, and future prospects of the industry. But, I hope, such a scenario will remain only in "theory".
Mykhailo Kotovenko, Groupe SEB Chair of the EBA Consumer Electronics Committee
The main achievement of our industry is that there is free trade in Ukraine. And the international companies that form the basis of the European Business Association are beacons of the world′s best practices of doing business in the ocean of "predatory" Ukrainian capitalism. Looking back 30 years ago: apart from individual joint ventures, there was just late socialism, “perestroika”, cut coupons, and product queues. Nothing more. So, on birthdays, a toast is usually raised for success and not for defeat – it will be bizarre. In general, we have a great shortage of positive news in the country, the focus is usually on "zrada" (betrayal). Yes, these years were chaotic, there were both rise and fall for business. But despite internal instability, changes in legislation, crises, and revolutions multiplied by the war in the East - the consumer electronics sector and its sale are growing, as is Ukraine′s economy, the welfare of the population is increasing and capitalism is confidently moving our country forward, increasing incomes and effective demand. These 30 years have also shown that we, as a country, have great potential, not only in Kyiv but also in other regional centers. Potential that includes human, technological, agricultural aspects. And it depends on the daily small steps forward whether we will become one of the best countries of Europe and the world to live in or whether we will remain a third world country. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of Independence – I give my warm congratulations to everyone and wish growth, prosperity, and daily small steps forward!

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