Debate “How to remove barriers to trade and international economic cooperation? (report)

The debate was concentrated on the ways tin which we can eliminate the trade barriers and support the economic cooperation with Ukraine.

The discussion moderated by Oleg Dubisz, Senior Vice President of the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, was attended by specialists and practitioners in this field:

Mark Alexander Friedrich, International Relations Manager, METRO AG, Germany,
György Kota, Managing Director, Hungarian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, Hungary,
Edward Bajko, President of the Management Board, Spomlek Dairy Cooperative, Poland,
Krzysztof Ślęzak, Director, Industrial Development Agency S.A. Branch in Mielec, Poland,
Maurizio Aronica, Founder, BridgEast Consulting Kft., Italy.

Trade between Ukraine and the EU is growing rapidly. It is worth mentioning that with the entry into force of the FTA, the number of Ukrainian companies exporting to the EU has doubled. Companies previously exporting to Russia are looking for and finding new markets in Europe, Africa, the United States and Canada. During the discussion, questions were asked about the challenges faced by European entrepreneurs in the Ukrainian market and by Ukrainian entrepreneurs in the EU countries. Taking into account the needs of economic infrastructure in Ukraine, will the normalisation of economic life, the improvement of the investment climate and the implementation of European business standards open up new opportunities for foreign investors?

Maurizio Aronica noted that it is necessary to work hard to change the attitude of Europeans towards Ukraine itself and Ukrainian products. As an example he gave Ukrainian organic food, which currently does not find many recipients in Europe, because there is still a specific mental barrier for European consumers.

Edward Bajko discussed the dairy market in Ukraine seen from a Polish perspective. It may not be a key market for Poland, but it is nevertheless very important and worth the effort. He mentioned Ukrainian cheese production, which secures the needs of the local market.

The existing potential for investment cooperation in Ukraine cannot be exploited without political stability, without which it is also difficult to analyse the investment risk. In the case of food, the certification and authorisation process is also extremely important.

In Germany, there is still a “mental carbon paper” which links Ukraine with the Chernobyl reactor catastrophe, hence the problems that arise, among others,” noted Mark Alexander Friedrich. Much has already been done, however, and several important reforms have been made, but this year’s elections will be crucial for the further development of the situation.

György Kot outlined the historical context of Ukraine’s economic development. After the collapse of the USSR, our eastern neighbour found itself in a kind of vacuum, in a gap between east and west. This has changed a lot in recent years and Ukraine, as he pointed out, is now on the right path, as is the EU’s attitude towards this country. However, the problem is the implementation and enforcement of the decisions and findings. One of the pressing problems is still poor transport infrastructure.


Krzysztof Ślęzak presented the activities and experiences of the Industrial Development Agency, Mielec branch.  During talks with Ukrainian partners, questions about the experience related to the creation and development of economic zones are most frequently asked. Ukrainian investors who want to invest in Poland and Polish entrepreneurs who operate in Ukraine also appear more and more often. He also pointed out the problems, including the need to have an intermediary, supervision of employees and recovery of VAT.