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.
Intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement when done right are one of the fundamental conditions for innovation and competition. Ukraine’s strategic documents list protection of IP rights among policy priority. However, the implementation of IP-related reforms remains slow.
By April 1, state officials and certain other individuals were required to submit 2017 property and income e-declarations. While many people criticized the new requirement for the anti-corruption activists to submit e-declarations, members of supervisory boards at SOEs were also required to submit such declarations in 2018.
The end of February 2018 was marked by the victory celebration at the Ukrainian gas market as Ukrainian Naftogaz won the case on gas transit against the Russian Gazprom at the Stockholm Arbitrage Court. The Gazprom has to pay the Naftogaz USD 4.6 bn for violating the “take or pay” clause.
The year 2017 brought wins and failures. The Ukrainian Government was able to approve important reforms, which was still not sufficient to receive scheduled assistance from the IMF and the EU. 2018 will be tough as Ukraine should make large progress in many areas, while the 2019 elections are approaching.
On December 7, 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament had the day of Budget-2018. During one day, the Verkhovna Rada amended the Budget Code and Tax Code, as well as adopted the State Budget Law for 2018. The decisions were taken in a very non-transparent way with changes approved from the voice.
In 2014, the Strategic Advisory Group under the support of the Soros’s Foundation prepared the Strategy of Healthcare Reform for 2015-2020. After long debates, the laws launching the healthcare reform were approved in 2017 with first changes starting in 2018.
It became clear that Ukraine has failed to receive the third and final tranche of the MFA III. Initially, the MFA III at EUR 1.8 bn was agreed in 2015 under a number of conditionalities that envisaged 22 measures in the areas of energy, public financial management, anticorruption policy, etc.
In October, the USAID Leadership in Economic Governance (LEV) Program held its final event. The project lasted for three years and made an important contribution to the policy of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development in Ukraine.