KYIV. June 29 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble met on Tuesday, June 28, to discuss the support that Germany can possibly give to the reforms planned by the Ukrainian government in such areas as customs, energy saving, and privatization.
“We are committed to carry on with reform,” Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers press service quoted Groysman as saying at the onset of the meeting.
Groysman noted that the new Ukrainian government started privatizing state-owned businesses and, in particular, resolved to privatize one of the largest Ukrainian enterprises, Odesa Port-Side Plant. Besides, the government has deregulated prices in the markets for gas, pharmaceuticals and started reforming customs, he said.
Groysman emphasized the Cabinet of Minister’s desire to attract the German investment in the Ukrainian economy. The prime minister remarked that on Monday, June 27, he met with German business representatives who noted some improvements in the investment climate and showed readiness to intensify their activities in Ukraine.
Groysman and Schauble also discussed issues related to the cooperation in the area of energy efficiency, including the German support to the efforts on creation and operation of the state-sponsored Energy Efficiency Fund, maintenance of its transparent and efficient work.
The interlocutors also discussed the support that Germany can offer in relation to Ukraine’s Customs Service reforming and technical re-equipment.
Schauble expressed readiness to offer consultative support to the privatization process in Ukraine.
“We are ready to assist, advise, share our experience in privatization,” he said.
The Ukrainian government will designate persons in charge of its interaction with the German side in such cooperation areas as energy efficiency, the customs reform and the Ukrainian privatization, Groysman said.
Schauble, in turn, said that Germany is ready to support Ukraine and Ukrainian government on the march toward reform.
“You face an enormous challenge and we will give you support,” Schauble said.
The Ukrainian government delegation led by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman held a working visit to Germany on June 27-28, 2016.
Our state extremely highly values trade relations with the European Union whose principles are stipulated in the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. We see enhanced trade and economic relations with Europe as a major opportunity to accelerate the modernization of the national industry, create the most favorable investment climate, and safeguard the rights of owners and investors. This opinion was expressed by President of the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Anatoliy Kinakh during debates on the subject “How to Trade with Our Neighbors. Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy, ” held as part of the European Business Summit in Brussels.
The results of these and other debates at the Summit will be conducive to extending the EU trade strategy “Trade for All: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy,” which was published by the European Commission in late 2015. Today, EU institutions together with the leading business associations in Europe and prominent business people of the continent and the rest of the world are doing their best to fully implement this ambitious and far-reaching strategy to ensure European companies’ access to other countries, especially when it goes about small- and medium-sized businesses.
“By taking serious steps in the framework of free trade with the EU, seeking quick adaptation to European standards and regulations, we are trying to make cooperation with the EU as efficient as possible, namely ensuring that its financial assistance and investment could help make loans affordable to entrepreneurs in Ukraine, facilitate modernization of the economy without plugging different gaps, and reach a particular company, supporting small and medium businesses, which are key to the formation of a strong middle class, a guarantee of democratic reforms in the country. We insist: policy promoting Ukraine’s trade and economic relations must be improved,” Anatoliy Kinakh said.
He agreed with many participants in the Summit who underlined that it is the small businesses that face trade challenges on the foreign and EU domestic markets. So, more efforts should be made to help the small businesses so they could also use the opportunities of free trade and have more impact on EU trade policy.
The leader of the Ukrainian business community said that the reform of EU trade policy at all stages of this large-scale and challenging work, which will directly influence Ukraine, should foresee the active participation of members of civil society, associations and business unions, numerous experienced experts. The Ukrainian industrialists and entrepreneurs, based on their representative office in Brussels, are ready to participate in this process.
According to him, the Agreement on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the EU and Ukraine, which entered into force on January 1, 2016, is an important milestone in relations between the EU and Ukraine, and our state together with European partners should make every effort to use the economic benefits of the agreement to significantly improve the business climate and raise needed foreign investment.
Brussels hosted the European Business Summit, which was for the first time co-organized by the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ULIE). Its delegation, led by ULIE President Anatoliy Kinakh, included about 50 respected entrepreneurs, politicians and opinion leaders and aimed to draw most of investors’ attention to Ukraine’s potential and significantly increase Ukrainian producers’ export opportunities.
The Summit brought together more than 2,000 participants from EU countries, high-ranking representatives of EU institutions. Honorary guests of the event were President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, and others.
KYIV. June 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – PJSC State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine over the 11 months of the 2015/2016 marketing year (MY, July-June) exported more than 30,000 tonnes of flour, which is almost twice as much compared to the same period last season.
“According to experts, the corporation ranks second among exporters of wheat flour from Ukraine,” the press service said citing director of the marketing and sales department Viacheslav Tsehelnyk.
According to him, the corporation plans in the 2016/2017 MY to ship about 55,000 tonnes of flour to foreign markets and intends to become a leader in exports of Ukrainian flour.
“We continue to expand the geography of supplies to the Middle East, the CIS and Asia. We should also mention the prospect of further work with the member states of the African continent,” the expert said.
As reported, the corporation plans by 2019 to increase exports of flour by 9 times, to 280,000 tonnes, grains by 1.8 times, to 5.17 million tonnes. In 2015 the corporation exported 32,000 tonnes of flour, in 2016 plans to reach 60,000 tonnes.
KYIV. June 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a senior secured long-term loan of up to $20 million to finance the modernization, energy efficiency and environmental improvements of Astarta’s existing sugar processing plants.
The decision was made on June 22, 2016.
The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. As of January 1, 2016, the bank had a total cumulative commitment of EUR 12 billion in 355 projects in the country.
Astarta Group is one of the largest vertically integrated agricultural companies in Ukraine, operating nine sugar plants, around 250,000 hectares of leased arable land, as well as dairy farms and engaged in soybean processing.
KYIV. June 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine’s Health Ministry seeks to intensify cooperation with the World Bank in the healthcare reform sphere under a joint project Serving People, Improving Health Project being realized in Ukraine since 2015 in eight regions.
The press service of the ministry reported that the issue was discussed at a meeting of acting Health Minister Viktor Shafransky with representatives of the World Bank on Wednesday.
The sides agreed the tighter meeting schedule to discuss the problematic issues and joint actions under the project, intensified work in the regions, attraction of World Bank representatives to working groups of the key directions of reforms.
“We intend to accelerate the implementation of the project at the central and regional levels alike. It is important to plan and coordinate actions between all sides, clearly set tasks and terms and control their implementation. The result is important, not the process,” Shafransky said.
In March 2015, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $214.73 million loan provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to implement Serving People, Improving Health Project. The project will seek to develop medical infrastructure and improve the quality of health services in eight regions across the country: Vinnytsia, Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Zakarpattia, Zaporizhia, Lviv, Poltava and Rivne regions.
KYIV. June 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has said that all legislative and regulation base should be approved by the end of 2016 and the Energy Efficiency Fund is launched from 2017.
The fund would help to send a part of subsidies to energy saving and increase investment in this sector and reduce subsidies in the future.
“Our task is to transform subsidies into investment in energy efficiency,” he said, opening the Ukrainian Energy Efficiency Forum on Thursday.
He recalled that from 2014 the government launched the mechanism of ‘warm’ credits via state-run banks. They allow citizens to receive partial (from 30% to 70%) compensation for the cost of construction materials and energy equipment in energy efficiency projects. He said that with around 300,000 Ukrainian citizens invested in these projects, investment reached some UAH 3 billion, and the 2016 national budget foresees UAH 700 million for this purpose and this could be not enough.
Groysman said that the specifics of the new tool that would be launched via the Energy Efficiency Fund, would be sending a part of subsidies to energy saving.
The prime minister said that the energy efficiency sector could create some 50,000 jobs and strengthen Ukraine’s energy independence.
The prime minister pointed out the importance of transparent work of the fund and curbing any corrupt influence in the energy sector. In this regard, he called on Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development, Construction Housing and Utilities of Ukraine Hennadiy Zubko to involve experts and civil society in the creation of the fund and its supervisory board.
The prime minister also expressed hope that in synergy with Ukrainian MPs it will be possible to work out the necessary legislation that could be approved by parliament no later than the third or fourth quarters of this year. It will enable the fund’s operation from 2017.