The fifth annual survey of Ukrainian exporters and importers1 marks growing optimism among companies regarding the already achieved AA impact, while their future assessments are marred by uncertainty.
Ukraine’s dependence on the market for exports to Russia has been declining drastically since 2011. Until then Ukraine’s exports to Russia, the EU, and the rest of the world had been following similar paths.
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.
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.
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.
After a recent TV address of Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, it became known that the state’s efforts in 2014 and the coming years will be focused on the implementation of an import replacement policy. According to the prime minister: “it is a shame when imports account for 80% of the net export structure.”
After a long negotiation between milk producers, processors and sellers, the Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture has proposed a new bill that would severely tighten the regulation of the Lithuanian dairy market. The authors of the bill claim that their intention is to protect Lithuanian producers, bring confidence to the market and boost the consumption of milk products. But is it really so? The proposed privileges for milk producers are nothing else but an iron curtain that will shift the…