Doing Business in Ukraine
Welcome to the second annual Kyiv Post Doing Business in Ukraine guide. Despite successes, the outlook for the nation still remains tentative. A new government that came to power in April is expected to build on the reforms enacted by the previous one.
But the nation still has made little progress in improving rule of law or punishing corruption. A new wrinkle came with the release of the Panama Papers, showing that the world's elite – including President Petro Poroshenko – like to do business in offshore tax havens. De-offshorization and de-oligarchization aren't heard much from the president's lips lately, but an international effort is under way to combat these secretive ways of doing business.
Experts also see many bright spots in Ukraine’s economic future.
For starters, cheap Western credits, led by the International Monetary Fund, might resume soon. The National Bank of Ukraine continues to close badly run banks and bring more transparency to the opaque financial sector. Bringing energy prices to market levels on May 1 eliminates a major source of corruption and waste. The prices also help cut dependency on Russian energy imports. Ukraine's labor force remains cheap by international standards. Taxes have been cut in key areas. The government is promising again to sell or close most of its 3,000 state-owned firms, sources of private wealth for insiders and public debt for the rest of us. Prozorro, the online system for making public purchases competitive and transparent, has already saved millions of taxpayer dollars. In good times and in bad, the agricultural and information technology sectors keep humming along. And Ukraine is expanding its trade agreements. Besides the European Union pact that came into force in January, Ukraine is close to signing a free trade deal with Canada, where a Ukraine-canada business forum will take place in Toronto on June 20. So, all in all, life is looking up in many ways.
The Kyiv Post launched Doing Business in Ukraine last year. It became a huge success and the most-read publication of the year with distribution in Washington, D.C., London and other cities. This motivated the newspaper to publish the guide annually to promote Ukraine’s image abroad as well as the nation’s abundant business opportunities – and challenges.
This year, we focus on key sectors – chemicals, energy, banking, agriculture, telecoms, automotive – and interview key business and government leaders. We hope you enjoy this 80-page guide giving the state of play in Ukraine’s economy and please let us know how we can make it better next year. Doing Business in Ukraine 2016 will also be available in the Kindle format on Amazon. We thank our section partners – CITI, lifecell, METRO, Ukrplastic, Vasil Kisil and Partners, Zammler and all of our advertisers and subscribers for supporting independent journalism in Ukraine.
Alyona Nevmerzhytska Acting Chief Executive Officer
Brian Bonner Kyiv Post Chief Editor