Ukraine has been going through ambitious structural reforms aimed to strengthen its democratic institutions and human rights protection, impose rule of law, and develop modern market-oriented economy. Customs reform is among key reforms in Ukrainian policy agenda in 2019.
According to the Ukrstat, Ukraine exported USD 20.2 bn to the EU, surpassing the previous peak registered in 2008, i.e. before the hardships of two economic crises and the occupation of the part of Ukraine’s territory.
Last week’s events give some hope that the deep crisis which has gripped Venezuela’s economy in the past few years could end, or at least that the country may head towards economic recovery soon. It is, however, worthwhile to again review the dimensions and the causes of the crisis.
In compliance with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine has split its previously combined fiscal service into separate tax and customs agencies. This is a step in the right direction, which should be followed by re-orienting the customs to serve businesses and promote cross-border trade.
The first steps of the long-awaited customs reform in Ukraine started in 2017 only to be cancelled at the beginning of 2018. Meanwhile, customs clearance in the country remains lengthy and complicated, which is reflected in Ukraine’s low positions in comparative international rankings.
What exactly does Ukraine sell to the EU? Has the trade structure changed during last three years taking into account multiple factors such as improved access to the EU market, lower global commodity prices, and economic crisis of 2014-2015?
Chinese steel is a typical strawman for U.S. politicians. Employment in the U.S. steel industry fell dramatically indeed. There were around 780,000 employees in the sector in the late 1960s and the industry was producing 115 million tons of steel. Today, there are less than 100,000 employees.
Ukrainian exporters say that inefficient and non-transparent VAT refunds system and high levels of bureaucracy are the biggest obstacles for export. The survey also reveals that smaller enterprises tend to be more burdened by complicated customs procedures and lack of transparency in the operation of tax agencies.
The experience of dealing with Russia over the past 200 years has taught us that the only thing Russia respects is power; and we will only have power if we stay close to our friends. However, soon thereafter any such pragmatism was once again forgotten and we now continue living with our illusions as if nothing has happened.