Business news from Ukraine

UKRAINE STARTS SOWING GRAIN

As of March 7, 2019, Ukraine has started sowing early grain and leguminous crops in seven regions. The crops had been sowed on 58,000 ha or 3% of the target.
According to a report of the Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry of Ukraine, spring barley was sowed on 34,000 ha (2%), wheat on 1,000 ha (1%), peas on 23,000 ha (7%) and millet on 500 ha.
In addition, fertilizer input on areas with winter crops in grain was finished on 4.6 million ha (60% of the target).
Fertilizers were input on 3.8 million ha with winter wheat (59%), on 43,000 ha with winter rye (38%) and 718,000 ha with winter barley (71%).
In addition, areas with winter rapeseeds were filled with fertilizers on 1.1 million ha (83%).
The ministry said that the logistics of agricultural products remains a bottleneck of Ukrainian exports.
“Therefore, there is a proposal and a common desire of the response team members [the interdepartmental response team in agricultural logistics] to transfer its work to the systemic track. In parallel with the current and urgent issues, we will work on a long-term development strategy and logistics efficiency in agriculture, and jointly worked out decisions and proposals will be submitted to the meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine,” Acting Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food Olha Trofimtseva said.
According to her, among the key issues requiring strategic discussion are three issues: the predictability of operation or closure of low-efficiency stations and the possibility of alternative solutions; fair and transparent pricing; systematic vision of the formation of routes of transportation of agricultural products in 2019.

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REAL WAGES IN UKRAINE 9.5% UP IN JAN

Real wages in Ukraine in January 2019 compared with January 2018 increased by 9.5%, while compared with December 2018 it decreased by 13.6%, the State Statistics Service has reported. According to the service, the average nominal wage of full-time employees in January 2019 compared with the previous month decreased by 12.8%, in annual terms it grew by 19.6%, reaching UAH 9,223.
The authority said that in December 2018, it amounted to UAH 10,573, November – UAH 9,161, October – UAH 9,218, September – UAH 9,042, August – UAH 8,977 and July – UAH 9,170.
According to the statistics department, the largest increase in the average wage of full-time employees in January 2019 compared with January 2018 was observed in Zaporizhia (25.1%), Poltava (23.5%), Dnipropetrovsk (23.0%), Vinnytsia (22.4%), Ternopil (20.5%) and Kharkiv (20.2%) regions, while in Kyiv city this figure was 17.6%.
The highest level of wages in the past month was recorded in Kyiv city – UAH 13,721, and the lowest in Chernivtsi region – UAH 6,958.
In January 2019 compared with the same month of 2018, wages increased the most in IT and telecommunications – by 25.2%, in industry – by 24.9%, in construction – by 24.0%, in public administration and defense, compulsory social insurance – by 22.9%, administrative and support services – by 21.8%, and real estate transactions – by 20.3%.

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FLOW OF HEALTH TOURISTS FROM UKRAINE TO GERMANY GROWS BY 20% EVERY YEAR – DIRECTOR OF DEUTSCHMEDIC GMBH

The flow of health tourists from Ukraine to Germany grows by some 15-20% every year, and the sharp growth was seen after the introduction of visa-free regime, Director of DeutschMedic GmbH Anna Weegen (Essen, Germany) has told Interfax-Ukraine. “In 2019, it will be the 21st year, as I organize the arrival of patients from the countries of the former USSR for treatment in Germany. According to my observations and according to the press, the flow from Ukraine is increasing annually by 15-20%. A significant jump occurred after the abolition of the entry visas to the countries of the Schengen legislation of the European Union for holders of Ukrainian biometric passports, “she said.
The cheapening of air links between Ukraine and Germany contributes to the increase in the flow of medical tourists, according to the expert. Weegen said that foreign patients can receive almost all the services that modern medicine has in its arsenal in German hospitals, with the exception of only legally regulated features in transplantation and artificial insemination.
In particular, for patients from Ukraine, requests for treatment of oncology are currently the most relevant. Neurology is second, outperforming traditionally high-demand cardiac interventions (electrophysiology, stenting, valve replacement, and aortocoronary shunting), orthopedics is in fourth place, including total joint replacement.
“Practically each of the patients who receive medical services in the above-mentioned disciplines necessarily uses the services of related specialists, and at the end of the treatment – some types of rehabilitation,” the expert said, noting the growing popularity of preventive annual check-ups.
Weegen said that currently there are no legislative acts in Germany prescribing medical institutions to report to any authorities on the number of foreign patients. However, those institutions that have not some foreign patients, “but dozens and hundreds, keep their own internal statistics, which is sometimes shared with the press or economic authorities.”
“In Germany there are almost 2,000 hospitals with a total fund of about 500,000 beds, and 20 million inpatients per year. At the same time, there are hospitals where there have never been foreign patients, but in some clinics the proportion of medical tourists can approach 10% of the total number of patients,” she said.
In this case, medical tourists receive not only inpatient, but also outpatient treatment in Germany, using the services of medical practices, which in Germany are more than 75,000.
“Many foreign patients receive outpatient services in clinics where statistics is not collected by anyone. The same applies to numerous sanatoriums, rehabilitation centers, prosthetic institutes and other institutions,” she said.
According to Weegen, in the coming years, medical tourists will come to Germany, mainly to receive high-tech medical care, in particular, complex surgical or catheter interventions, robot-assisted surgeries, radiation, that is, all that domestic medicine, due to the high cost of technology, has not yet implemented everywhere.”
At the same time, according to the expert, “primary diagnosis is made in the country of residence,” and the patient receives the second opinion in Germany. Then the patient has a surgery in the country of residence. He or she comes to Germany for radiation and chemotherapy, and then continues chemotherapy at the place of residence.
“This approach saves the patient’s time and money and gives him or her access to all the achievements of medical progress without a complete separation from the domestic system,” she said.
Weegen said that the share of health care in Germany is about 11% of GDP, and the share of medical tourism in health care is less than 0.04% of GDP.
According to Weegen, according to very rough estimates, approximately 250,000 foreign patients are treated in Germany annually. At the same time, about half of all medical tourists come from the countries of the former USSR.

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CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IN UKRAINE CONTINUES IMPROVING

Consumer confidence of Ukrainians in December 2018 improved compared with November by 2.4 points, to 62.2 on a 200-point scale, following the November trend after a significant decline in October 2018, GfK Ukraine has reported on the results of a monthly study, clarifying that from January 2019 it stopped this research project. This indicator is also 1.9 points higher compared to December 2017, the report says.
“In December, the optimism of consumers recovered after a slight recession in October-November. The consumer confidence of the citizens with average and higher than average income has improved the most. In December, these groups saw the significant increase of the index of expected changes in future income and propensity to consume. Instead, the pessimism has increased in the group of citizens with lower than average income,” GfK Ukraine analysts said.
The largest positive trend was shown by the index of propensity to consume, which rose by 3.7 points in December 2018, to 71.6, the study indicates.
Ukrainians were also optimistic about the expectations of changes in unemployment: the corresponding index rose by 3.5 points, to 134. The index of expected changes in personal financial standing grew by 3.2 points, to 61.8.
In addition, the inflation expectations index improved, dropping by 2.6 points, to 186.6, and the economic expectations index increased by 2.6 points, to 63.6.

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UKRAINE AND NORWAY SIGN STATEMENT ON ENERGY

Ukraine and Norway have signed a joint statement on nuclear security, “green” energy and energy efficiency, Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman has said.
“During the business forum, together with head of the Norwegian government Erna Solberg, we signed a joint statement launching important energy initiatives on energy efficiency, integration into the European energy market, cooperation in nuclear safety and “green” energy,” Groysman wrote on Twitter on Monday.

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UKRAINE AND SWITZERLAND SIGN PROTOCOL ON AVOIDANCE OF DOUBLE TAXATION

The Government of Ukraine and the Swiss Federal Council have signed a protocol amending the bilateral convention on the avoidance of double taxation.
“The signing of this protocol creates favorable conditions for investors in Ukraine and Switzerland, stimulates business initiative of entrepreneurs, regulates issues of international taxation of income between states and eliminates tax discrimination,” President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, who attended the signing ceremony in Davos, wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.
Poroshenko met with Swiss President Ueli Maurer and agreed to continue interaction between the competent authorities in the matter of returning assets illegally withdrawn from Ukraine by former officials, Ukraine’s presidential press-service reported.
During the meeting, Poroshenko invited his Swiss counterpart to visit Ukraine.
Ukrainian Finance Minister Oksana Markarova and Maurer signed the protocol.
According to a posting on the website of the Finance Ministry of Ukraine, the signing of the protocol is aimed at avoiding double taxation of individual and companies’ income earned on the territories of the two countries.
“This will be achieved both by dividing the right to tax certain types of income between countries depending on their place of origin, and by taking into account the amounts of taxes paid in one country in tax liabilities of a taxpayer in one country,” the Finance Ministry said.
According to the ministry, the signed protocol provides for an increase in the tax rates of interest and royalties from nil to 5%, improving the procedure for resolving tax disputes through arbitration, and expanding the parties’ ability to exchange tax information without mentioning the requirements of national tax interest or bank secrecy.
In addition, the document establishes rules of applying the right to receive benefits – they will not be provided regarding the type of income or property, if one of the main goals of any agreement or an agreement between economic entities was to directly or indirectly receive such a benefit.
“These rates and regulations suit the general practice of concluding such international treaties on the avoidance of double taxation and protocols thereto with other countries by Ukraine,” the Finance Ministry said.
After signing the protocol, the countries are to implement the internal procedures required for the ratification of the agreement, the ministry said.

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