When hearing about Ukraine, some foreigners have a distorted perception of a grief-stricken, war-torn country struggling to make ends meet. Ukraine is facing many challenges, deep-rooted problems and furious social enemies. With the beginning of a spring, however, we hope that the mood is changing. This joyful season is traditionally associated with a new beginning, revival and hope. Although Ukraine is not yet living its golden age, there are first humble signs of economic growth and financial stabilization. We are seeing a number of victories that will have a profound impact on Ukraine’s investment climate.
As a leading business association in Ukraine, the American Chamber of Commerce has always strived to create a favorable environment for open and highly productive dialogue between the government and active business community. Every day, 12 specialized committees and 19 working groups at the Chamber, each dedicated to a specific industry or a problem, are making efforts to facilitate various business procedures, ease burdens as well as set fair and predictable rules for entrepreneurs in Ukraine.
Throughout 2015, the American Chamber of Commerce held more than 600 policy meetings attended by over 8000 individuals. As a result, we have achieved 19 strategic wins and 23 policy progresses, which are already making a difference. Some of the victories are presented below:
Last year the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted and published Resolution #42 “On Deregulation of Business Activity”. The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine advocated for a number of deregulation activities in energy, agriculture, food & beverage and HR sectors that were considered by the state bodies and incorporated into the paper. The aforementioned Resolution significantly simplifies business procedures in Ukraine and contributes to the implementation of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.
In the energy sector, mandatory geological monitoring of special conditions of subsoil use was cancelled. Companies working in agriculture now enjoy 24-hours’ time limit for issuing all phytosanitary documents. The paper averted unnecessary complication of state registration of baby products and dietary supplements.
As for HR, the Chamber initiated amendments to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine #437 “On Approval of the Procedure for Issuing, Extending and Terminating the Permits to Employ Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons”. Due to our proactive approach, the following improvements have taken place: a list of assignees eligible for work permits application was clarified; a possibility to extend a work permit without paying the state fee was granted; and the timeline for consideration of the work permit applications was reduced.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine supported the Draft Law “On Increasing Transparency of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine”, holding meetings with stakeholders. As a result, the draft law was adopted and now the AMCU publishes all its decisions, excluding only the parts which contain commercial secret.
When it comes to taxation, the most important things for business are predictability, transparency and accuracy. The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine has contributed to the improvement of electronic VAT administration. We also backed the initiative of reducing single social contribution, which has been cut to 22%. Another strategic win is the adoption of the Draft Law on Ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Apart from decisive action aimed at deregulating business activities, lessening the tax burden on the country’s investors, introducing greater transparency as well as predictability into the tax administration and antimonopoly activity, the Chamber has achieved a number of progresses in the spheres of agriculture, anti-corruption, banking and finance, customs, energy, healthcare, ICT, seeds, logistics and transportation. We will continue to act as a unified voice of business community in front of the government to move on with the reforming process and further improve Ukraine’s investor attractiveness.