Business news from Ukraine

EU SEEKS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL EUR 20 MLN TO UKRAINE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

KYIV. May 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The European Union intends by the end of this year to provide EUR 20 million for development of infrastructure projects.

An Interfax-Ukraine correspondent has reported Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombinski gave the information at a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.

He added that some more issues are to be settled. Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry is to present relevant documents that would enable the country to get the funds.

Acting Director of the European Investment Bank (EIB) representative office for Ukraine Guido Prudhomme said that the bank has approved a new grant for the infrastructure program and is completing the preparation of two important programs in urban transport and railway modernization. Relevant financial programs will be signed by the end of the year.

Asked about the terms of the introduction of the visa free regime for Ukraine, Tombinski said that as far as he knows foreign ministers are holding a meeting in Brussels on the issue.

“We are waiting for positive messages,” he said.

POROSHENKO, ERDOGAN AGREE ON MUTUAL INVESTMENT PROTECTION, 90-DAY VISAS FOR UKRAINIANS

KYIV. May 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Istanbul have reached a series of agreements on protection of investments and avoidance of double taxation.

“First: final harmonization of an agreement on mutual investment protection and an agreement on avoidance of double taxation that opens mutual investment opportunities for Turkish investors in Ukraine and for Ukrainian investors in Turkey,” the presidential press service quoted Poroshenko as saying.

The parties also agreed to step up the talks regarding the free trade area in order to reach a compromise and to remove any obstacles in bilateral economic cooperation.

The Ukrainian president also said that they reached an agreement to increase the term of validity of national visas for the uninterrupted stay of Ukrainians in Turkey up to 90 days.

The two presidents also discussed new projects in the fields of mechanical engineering and aircraft construction, as well as defense industry.

ZAKARPATTIA GOVERNOR INTRODUCES TWO TEMPORARY CUSTOMS CHECK POINTS

KYIV. May 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Head of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration Hennadiy Moskal has announced the creation of temporary customs control zones in two mountain passes at the entrance to Zakarpattia region for more effective fight with smuggling.

“Zakarpattia takes enhanced measures for cargo flows control not only directly at the state border, but also at the entry to the region from neighboring areas for a more effective fight against smuggling of excise goods (primarily cigarettes),” Moskal’s official website reports on Thursday.

The Zakarpattia regional governor held a special meeting with customs heads, border guards, law enforcement bodies and heads of district state administrations where he gave them a task to create a temporary zone of customs control at checkpoints in the village of Nyzhni Vorota in Volovets district, Zakarpattia region and in the village of Lazeschyna in Rakhiv district of Zakarpattia.

“The bulk of goods go through these check points from other Ukrainian regions. Henceforth, cargo traffic will be monitored not only by police and tax officials, but border guards and customs officers that have the right to remove the truck seals, inspect the goods and seal them again at the entrance to the region. Enhanced goods control over two mountain passes is necessary in order to reduce the number of cigarettes brought to us for the purpose of further smuggling not through check points, but through other sections of the border,” the report says.

The police have been given the task to take additional measures for preventing illegal migrants and criminals from coming into the region.

AGRICULTURE MINISTER PRESENTS 3+5 SECTOR DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY TO MPS

KYIV. May 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian Agricultural Policy and Food Minister Taras Kutovy has presented the three plus five strategy for developing the agricultural sector to parliament.

“There are three key directions we want to focus on: the land reform and transparent land turnover, the second – the government support reform and focus on small and medium farmers, and the third – the reform of state-run enterprises, increase of their profits, efficiency and their privatization if we see that this is the sole effective way of development,” he said speaking in parliament on Friday.

The core five vectors of the ministry’s operation are linked to the development of rural areas, expansion of sales markets, organic production and niche crops, irrigation, safety and quality of foods (the launch of the effective operation of the State Service for Food Safety and Protection of Consumer Rights).

EU, EBRD TO PROVIDE EUR 28 MLN FOR SMES IN UKRAINE

KYIV. May 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide up to EUR 28 million for business advice, information, training and other support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ukraine as part of the EU4Business initiative.

The agreement was signed on May 20 by First Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Development and Trade Minister Stepan Kubiv, EU Ambassador Jan Tombinski and Head of EBRD operations in Ukraine Sevki Acuner.

The EBRD will assist with the creation of a network of business support centers, in addition to using existing business support structures to establish operations in 15 regions of Ukraine. In addition to the current EBRD offices in Kyiv and Lviv, the latter now focusing on activities to support SMEs, new offices will be opened in Kharkiv in the east and Odessa in the south, widening and deepening the EBRD’s outreach and reflecting the importance that the Bank and the EU attach to the development of small private firms across the country.

It is also envisaged that up to EUR 12 million of EU4Business funds will be used to support the EBRD’s direct financing of smaller enterprises. At least 50 SMEs are expected to be financed directly by the EBRD through a dedicated credit line worth EUR 100 million.

“Today’s agreement paves the way for more development opportunities for Ukrainian SMEs. Advisory and financial support provided by the EU and the EBRD will make these companies stronger and more competitive domestically and internationally. The opening of two new offices and the development of a network of business support centers across the country also reflects our commitment and attention to supporting Ukraine’s economic growth,” Acuner said.

The funding is part of the wider EU4Business initiative which includes access to finance for Ukrainian SMEs, as well as significant technical assistance to the Ukrainian government to support deregulation and the implementation of sound policies to support the private sector.

“The EU4Business initiative aims to support job-creating Ukrainian businesses by equipping small and medium-sized companies with new skills and supporting their ambitions to export to the largest neighbouring market – the EU Single Market of more than 500 million consumers. We are teaming up with the EBRD, our longstanding partner, to significantly increase our support for small businesses in Ukraine and to help a variety of firms benefit from the opportunities available under the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). We are determined to help local businesses become drivers of economic growth in the Ukrainian regions and compete successfully in global markets,” Tombinski said.

POROSHENKO, KISKA DISCUSS CREATION OF EAST EUROPEAN GAS HUB

KYIV. May 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has met with his Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska on the sidelines of the UN World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, where the sides exchanged views important bilateral relations and international cooperation.

“They also discussed issues related to the creation of an East European gas hub with the participation of other countries in the region,” the Ukrainian presidential press service said on Monday.

“The two leaders emphasized the two countries’ algorithm of interaction in the direction of European integration in the context of Slovakia’s EU presidency in the second half of 2016,” it said.

“The point at issue was, in particular, practical assistance by the Slovak side in reforming the Ukrainian economy, as well as Slovakia’s support of decisions by the EU’s governing agencies on visa-free travel for citizens of Ukraine,” it said.

What is more, Poroshenko and Kiska considered ways to enhance trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. “In this regard, they noted the importance of this year’s scheduled meeting of the intergovernmental Ukrainian-Slovak commission on economic, industrial, research and engineering cooperation,” the press service said.

The Ukrainian president also thanked the Slovak leader for backing Ukraine’s position on inadmissibility of the North Stream 2 project.