Friendly relations between Ukraine and Poland, including their openness to economic cooperation and signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, have been a prerequisite for annual international business forums. This idea of the Vice President of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, managing partner of the International Legal Center EUCON Yaroslav Romanchuk, was supported by the foreign ministries of both countries. The first such event was held on 6 November 2014 in Kiev, and the second – the International Forum “Ukrainian Business Day in Poland” – on 14-15 May 2015 in Warsaw. The forum was held at the Ministry of Economy of Poland, under the auspices of the embassies and was attended by about 200 participants. It was organized by the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, ILC EUCON and the International Audit Union.
The key issues on the first day of the forum included the readiness of the Ukrainian Government to pursue reforms aimed at the European integration of Ukraine under EU standards and creating incentives to enhance business activity and improve the investment climate. On day one, Ukraine was represented by the Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine Olena Makeyeva, the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Yuliya Klimenko, the Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine Vladyslav Rashkovan, the head of the State Regulation Service of Ukraine Kseniya Liapina, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland Andriy Deshchytsia, people’s deputy of Ukraine and Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee on Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship, Mykhailo Khmil, representatives of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine and officials of local authorities from Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk.
The Polish speakers at the Forum included the Deputy Minister of Economy of Poland Andrzej Dycha, the Deputy Minister of Finance of Poland Artur Radziwil, the former Minister of National Defence of Poland Janusz Onyszkiewicz, the Vice-President of the Polish Agency for Information and Foreign Investment Anna Polak-Kocinska, and the Deputy Director of KUKE Piotr Maciszek.
In his opening remarks, Yaroslav Romanchuk said that the international community was expecting structural reforms from the Ukrainian Government and decisive steps at improving the regulatory environment for the business community, and fight against corruption at all levels of government.
The representative of the Ministry of Finance, Olena Makeyeva, spoke about fiscal and tax reforms as the strategic priority of the Government. ‘We are committed to creating simple tax system that is clear for investors and would take existing businesses out of the shadow and stimulate the arrival of new investors in Ukraine’, she said.
The Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade Yuliya Klimenko discussed already implemented measures facilitating the establishment and conducting of business. She added that the approved legislative changes have enabled a reduction in the number of licensing procedures and business activities subject to licensing, so as to harmonize legislation with EU norms, reduce the administrative burden on businesses and corruption risks of existing procedures.
Ksenia Liapina, head of the State Regulation Service, explained the details of deregulation of economic activity in Ukraine.
The Secretary of the Committee of the Parliamentary of Ukraine On Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship Mykhailo Khmil discussed development of the legal framework for creation of special economic zones, industrial parks and clusters.
The Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine Vladyslav Rashkovan spoke about special features of the banking system of Ukraine and its reform, and in particular, about the issue of currency regulation, the existing grounds to introduce restrictions for the foreign exchange market in Ukraine and the conditions set by the National Bank for lifting these restrictions.
A separate panel included presentations by individual regions of Ukraine. In particular, representatives of the local authorities of Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk had an opportunity to present to the business community of Poland geographic, infrastructural and socio-economic features and advantages of doing business in their specific regions.
The operation and special features of the current tax system in Ukraine were described by representatives of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine. In particular, Nelia Privalova, Director of the Tax Methodology Department, Vitaliy Zakolodiazhny, the Deputy Director of the Department of Customs Control and Clearance, and Mykola Mishin, head of the division of transfer pricing audit of the Department of tax and customs audit spoke about electronic administration of VAT, improvement of customs procedures, and requirements on transfer pricing. Yevgen Petrenko, attorney and head of the Criminal Law and Procedure practices at ILC EUCON, discussed the risks in violating tax legislation and criminal liability of taxpayers.
During the last session of day one, top managers of major international companies and banks that are already present in Ukraine shared their practical experience of working on the Ukrainian market and the bureaucratic mechanisms present in Ukraine.
On the second day of the Forum, Ukrainian investment projects were presented for businesses, investors and government officials of Poland. These were the projects that had reached the final stage of the competition that began on 2 March 2015 in Ukraine. The competition was organized by ILC EUCON, the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, and the International Audit Union.
Its main purpose was to support Ukrainian businesses during their entry to European markets. The initiator and chairman of the organizing committee of the Competition was Yaroslav Romanchuk, the Vice-president of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, and managing partner at the International Legal Center EUCON. The competition was held under the auspices of the embassies of the two countries.
The competition jury selected the 18 best projects out of 160 applications from different regions of Ukraine that are being offered for implementation in Poland. The main criteria included an existing business in Ukraine, a decision to enter the Polish market, establishment of a company in Poland, innovative nature of a project, scope of investment (including available equity), and the number of jobs to be created.
‘As of now, Polish investments in Ukraine total about USD 1 billion, and Ukrainian investments in Poland equal about USD 60 million. So, our goal is to even up this imbalance. And this competition is just a beginning’, Romanchuk emphasized.
Diplomas of the International Competition of investment projects were presented to the winners, including SenV Group Sp. z.o.o., AEROMEX Sp.z.o.o., BUDSOL Sp.z.o.o., Ivmash Sp.z.o.o., StudioPak Sp.z.o.o., Ukrekopak Sp.z.o.o. Laureates will be given additional opportunities to implement projects in Poland. In addition, all finalists who presented their projects in the Ministry of Economy of Poland had the opportunity to share their ideas with government officials and businesses of Poland, which can help to implement projects in cooperation with partners, financial institutions and other participants of investment projects.
The next forum is scheduled to be held in Kiev in the first week of October 2015. The issue of entering European markets through the Polish jurisdiction will be discussed.
Photo from event is available here.