OPINION: Ukraine prepares for year of presidential and parliamentary elections

Ukraine is bracing for a year of elections and the international business community is watching to see what it will mean for the country’s investment and business climate

OPINION: Ukraine prepares for year of presidential and parliamentary elections
About the author: Andy Hunder is President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, Member of the National Reforms Council and National Investment Council, and Treasurer of AmChams in Europe
Andy Hunder
Friday, 28 September 2018 16:37

Ukraine is fast approaching a year of twofold elections in 2019 with Presidential elections expected on 31 March, followed by elections to Parliament later in October. The business community is watching closely and monitoring what impact the elections results may have on the investment climate.

The American Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a series of events in the run-up to the elections. We will provide members with insight and analysis on how the election results may influence the political and business landscape in Ukraine.

We recently held a first meeting with the Atlantic Council’s John Herbst, former US ambassador to Ukraine, and UkraineAlert editor Melinda Haring on the view of Washington as Ukraine approaches a year of elections. This was a valuable event offering member company representatives’ important insight from key experts at the world’s leading think-tank on international relations. Think-tank professionals are always able to say much more that government officials, as they are not constrained by policy and public speaking guidelines. Among many important points that were highlighted during the meeting, one stood out in particular – there is general disappointment among international observers that the post-Maidan niche for a new political leader remains vacant and has not yet been filled.

We are planning a series of get-togethers with the candidates who will be running in next year’s election. Simon Sinek, a British-American author and motivational speaker once said: “Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.”


Fighting for your business

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine is a part of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business association representing the interests of more than three million businesses. For more than a quarter of a century, AmCham Ukraine has been listening to the needs of business and conveying its voice in the political arena, taking action on legislative issues that impact business.

We continue to be a driver of positive changes with regard to doing business, working with the government at all levels to push for much-needed reforms and do our best promoting Ukraine internationally as an attractive investment destination.


What is on our agenda?

AmCham Ukraine has a clear position on what needs to be done for Ukraine’s sustainable economic recovery – a roadmap with a list of priority steps that will help to ameliorate Ukraine’s investment climate, boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and present Ukraine as a trustworthy investment destination. These are the messages we will be communicating to the political candidates.

Top of our list is macroeconomic stability, especially the continuation of cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), vital for investors already operating here and for potential investors eyeing Ukraine as a lucrative market. Predictability is what companies want to see.

Rule of Law is what investors seek in any country where they are working. Property rights, including IP protection, are pivotal for any investor. Physical security and the possibility to transfer funds in and out of the country are also of major importance.

A fair and transparent privatization process and reform of Ukraine’s 3000 state-owned enterprises is of ultimate significance. A three-dimensional transparency of privatization – meaning transparency of the asset up for sale, transparency of the buyer, and transparency of the privatization process itself - is vital to successful implementation. This will help to boost the efficiency of state-owned enterprises and swell revenues to the state budget.

In today’s economy, business must innovate and create in order to succeed. To ensure security of investment and innovation, the effective protection of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights is fundamental for businesses. By protecting IP, companies protect their key assets such as talent, innovation and investment.

With the majority of member companies of the American Chamber of Commerce seeing growth over the past two years, we remain confident that Ukraine will continue its reform path and support of FDI throughout 2019 and beyond. We are looking forward to hearing economic growth strategies from the presidential and subsequently parliamentary candidates. We look ahead to working together in making Ukraine a better place to do business.

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