One of the biggest platforms of Polish-Ukrainian dialogue has returned back! On October 27, 2021 there was held the XIV International Forum “Polish-Ukrainian Business Days” under the auspices of Ukrainian Business Association in Poland and EUCON Legal Group supported by PAIH.
During 4 sessions more than 20 speakers discussed the prospects of current and alternative directions of Polish-Ukrainian trade and economic cooperation through the prism of covid. Among the participants there were government officials, representatives of government agencies and diplomatic missions, banking and financial institutions, transport organizations, leading experts and entrepreneurs from Ukraine and Poland. They talked about the opportunities for cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food industry; investment attractiveness of Ukraine and Poland through the prism of access to financial resources and effective financial instruments; negotiated new ways of implementing Polish-Ukrainian infrastructure and energy projects etc.
The event was opened by the first session “Prospects for current and alternative directions of development of Polish-Ukrainian trade and economic cooperation through the covid prism”. It was traditionally moderated by Yaroslav Romanchuk, co-chairman of the Board of the Association of Ukrainian Business in Poland, Managing Partner of the EUCON Legal Group and Ireneusz Derek, advisor to the Board of PGNiG S.A. on Cooperation with Ukraine, Chairman of the Board of Karpatgazvydobuvannia LLC. The moderators welcomed the participants and emphasized the importance of the event as a logical continuation of the meeting of the First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine – Minister of Economy of Ukraine Oleksiy Lyubchenko with representatives of Polish and Ukrainian investors before the forum in the context of Polish-Ukrainian business dialogue.
The first speaker of the forum was Iryna Novikova, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine. She noted the importance of increasing exports to Poland and outlined priority areas for economic Polish-Ukrainian cooperation – investment, agriculture, energy. As for investments, Ms. Novikova described the system of state organizations, councils, committees and institutions that attract, unite investors and protect their interests. The speaker also analyzed the key aspects of changes and investment opportunities that will become available as a result of the adoption of laws on industrial parks and so-called “investment nannies”, commented on their content.
Valeria Ionan, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for European Integration spoke about the state digital products for business. She presented the ecosystem of the project “Diia”, which consists of 5 different products. Ms. Ionan stressed that entrepreneurs in Ukraine have a unique opportunity to register their business online through the application in 15 minutes and this is unique service in the world. Thus, thanks to the “Diia.Business” project, entrepreneurs can get free business consultations, receive training within a free online school and find new partners. It is also planned to expand the network of offline centres “Diia.Business” throughout Ukraine
Olga Magaletska, Head of the Office of the National Investment Council, focused on the aspects of increasing Ukraine’s investment attractiveness, which is facilitated by positive changes in the legislation and directions of Ukraine’s strategic development. Ms. Magaletska also explained to the participants the content and purpose of the Investment Strategy in Ukraine from the National Investment Council, UkraineInvest and the Ministry of Economy.
Sergiy Tsivkach, СEO, UkraineInvest Investment Attraction and Support Office spoke about the need for cooperation of government agencies with small and medium-sized businesses, in particular on investment; new business opportunities opened up by change of supply chains due to pandemic; prospects for the transfer of production from Asia to Eastern Europe; a new look through the prism in the field of pharmaceuticals, domestic tourism and e-commerce etc. The speaker pointed at some major issues of urgent needs to change Ukraine’s image in the world, conducting economic diplomacy through the world media and promotion of domestic business among international colleagues. “UkraineInvest’s activities this year, its goal is to restore confidence in the state to increase investment attractiveness” – Mr. Tsivkach noted.
Marcin Vnuk, the head of the Economic Department of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland stressed the priority of infrastructure development. The expert announced the list of available financial instruments for Ukrainian entrepreneurs in Poland, outlined the scale of Ukrainian investments in Poland, and also raised the important issue of reinvestment of Ukrainian business in Poland in Ukraine.
Igor Baranetsky, Counsellor and Head of the Economic Affairs Department of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Poland, focused on the dialogue between the Ukrainian and Polish authorities in the field of economy, noting the successes in economic diplomacy and describing signs of positive changes in the future. According to the speaker the accession of large Polish companies to investment councils in Ukraine indicates the expansion of investment relations between the two countries. Mr. Baranetsky also did not miss the issue of resumption of railway connections between Ukraine and Poland, creation of new air connections and improvement of logistics connections.
During the session, Piotr Ciarkowski, Chairman of the Board of the International Society of Polish Entrepreneurs in Ukraine, spoke about the improvement and gradual stabilization of the economic situation caused by the pandemic, successful adaptation of the market to tough conditions, and the need to strengthen trade relations between Ukraine and Poland.
On the halfway day of the second session there were heated discussions mutually beneficial prospects for cooperation in agriculture and food industry. In particular, Karol Kubica, moderator of the session and Head of the Foreign Trade Bureau of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) outlined the scope of food and agricultural exports from Ukraine to Poland and noted the groups of Polish goods that fill Ukrainian store shelves, emphasizing the positive dynamics between the two countries.
Independent expert Olga Trofimtseva rightly stressed that it is necessary to lobby on both sides for the development of economic relations, which would be mutually beneficial. The speaker also drew the listeners’ attention to the fact that the reason for the shortage of labour resources in Ukraine is increasing mass labour migration, in particular to Poland. The expert also spoke about the importance of the lack of opportunities for foreign investors to buy land on a par with Ukrainian investors and the advantages and disadvantages of existing restrictions.
Michał Cieszkowski, the Second Secretary for Agriculture of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Kyiv noted that the value of Polish exports has increased to 5 billion euros this year. Thus, according to the information provided by the speaker, 80% of Polish agri-food exports are made to EU countries, and the main partner is Germany. Mr. Cieszkowski stressed that the successful geographical location of the country is important for the development of Polish trade. Furthermore, according to the speaker, current data show that the economic interests of Poland and Ukraine are equal.
Miroslav Pitliak, Export Director of Feerum S.A., told the participants about Feerum’s activities, products that the company distributes in Ukraine. He also remembered the contract with Epicenter for the supply of products and analyzed the case of this cooperation as a demonstration of opportunities for cooperation between Ukrainian and Polish businesses and a case of lending as a financial instrument available to different levels of business.
Tomasz Benkowski, chairman of the Board, Polish Potato Federation shared with the participants the results of the experience of reorientation of vectors of vegetable sales to international markets. According to the speaker, given the large scale of Ukrainian exports of vegetable products, it is logical to focus not on competition, but on cooperation with players in the Ukrainian market, the search for new mutually beneficial opportunities.
The third session of the forum on “Investment attractiveness of Ukraine and Poland through the prism of access to financial resources and effective financial instruments”, moderated by Yaroslav Romanchuk distinguished itself with the presentation of successful cases and unique financial opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Maria Lubian, the Head of the Eastern European Region, PAIH S.A. analyzed in her speech the possibilities of using financial resources by entrepreneurs in Poland, outlined the activities of PAIH S.A. on investor support and focused on the real situation and prospects for the development of the investment climate between the two countries.
Michał Polyanski, Director of PARP Support Department told the participants in detail about the content of business support and development programs from the Polish Development Agency. In particular, the speaker stressed that all registered companies in Poland of small or medium-sized businesses, regardless of the residence of the final beneficiary, can participate in development programs. Mr. Polyanski also mentioned PARP is ready to support startups, companies that implement innovations seek to enter the international market.
Luiza Bednarovska-Kopyszcz, Director of KUKE Product Development, presented to the participants a new system of export support from KUKE, which is created for exporters, small and medium-sized companies, banks, and also helps to attract foreign investors to Poland. The uniqueness of the proposal lies in the new effective strategy of providing support and guarantee, in particular investment and contractual, as well as loan repayment from the state.
Jerzy Jacek Shugaev, Chairman of the Management Board of JSC KREDOBANK, spoke in detail about Kredobank’s tools for investors: in particular, about the services of Video Consultant, Direct Dealing (i.e. selling and buying currency at a more favourable rate for the client), SWIFT MT940 (uninterrupted receipt) on a permanent basis of account statements), the product “Currency forward” (i.e. fixing the exchange rate on contracts, commission – 0.05-0.5% per annum), the service of fast transfers Intercompany payment. Kredobank’s cooperation with BGK, KUKE and PAIH opens unique and profitable opportunities for Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Kredobank emphasizes the importance of social responsibility for the partnership of the two countries by establishing a Centre for Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation to support Polish and Ukrainian entrepreneurs.
Yaroslav Romanchuk, attorney, partner of EUCON Legal group described the different levels of innovation, including global, EU and Poland, for which funding can be obtained. The speaker voiced the conditions under which Polish start-ups can participate in co-financing programs. “The issue Poland currently faces is that the number of financial resources exceeds the number of good start-ups, while in Ukraine the situation is opposite. So, on the basis of the said we could have a synergy under the context of collaboration” the expert rightly emphasized.
The forum ended with an extremely productive and lively discussion of the topic “New Ways to Implement Polish-Ukrainian Infrastructure and Energy Projects” within the framework of the last fourth session.
PKP Cargo Connect procurator Lukasz Strzelecki, who moderated the session, directed the vector of the discussion to the existing infrastructure problems, the peculiarities of the Ukrainian market to be taken into account by large Polish companies when entering this market, the development of railway infrastructure and the creation of new freight rail links between Ukraine and Poland, alternative ways of solving problematic issues and positions to be taken by state structures for mutually beneficial cooperation.
Valery Tkachov, Deputy Director of the Commercial Work Department of JSC Ukrzaliznytsia, presented statistics on the growth of the level of freight rail transportation this year compared to the last year. Surely, the low rates of the last year were affected by the covid crisis. According to the current data, Ukraine exports mainly ore, construction materials and coal to Poland by rail. Mr. Tkachov stressed that the main financial donor of Ukrzaliznytsia is freight transportation, which testifies to the interest in the development of trade between Ukraine and Poland namely by rail.
Ireneusz Derek, Advisor to the Board of PGNiG S.A. on Cooperation with Ukraine, Chairman of the Board of Karpatgazvydobuvannia LLC told the participants about the peculiarities of the process of establishing cooperation between the Polish gas leader PGNiG and the Ukrainian market, the difficulties and risks of merging large energy companies and creating concerns in Eastern Europe.
Borys Hanayliuk Director, Lviv Lemberger Linien presented ambitious, large-scale and revolutionary for Ukraine project “Central Eurasian Silk Road (Green Way)”, according to which Lviv will actually become a transport and freight hub of Europe due to its favourable geographical location, infrastructure and logistics potential. In particular, according to the speaker, this will also solve the problem of restricting the issuance of licenses by Poland for road freight transport, which was repeatedly mentioned by the speakers throughout the forum.
Mateusz Domian, Director of ORLEN S.A. shared his thoughts on the process of entering the Ukrainian market in gradual steps and by consulting with local experts. The expert also commented on the peculiarities of fuel transportation in the current political conditions and the development of motor fuel transportation to Ukraine, emphasizing the importance of efficiency in the company’s offices in other countries.
The event was marked by constructive discussions, positive conclusions about future prospects, a friendly atmosphere, and the emergence of ideas for a fruitful partnership between the two countries. The organizers thank all the speakers, participants and partners of the event and shall be glad to meet everybody at the jubilee XV International Forum “Polish-Ukrainian Business Days” in Warsaw, which will take place in the spring of 2022! Stay tuned with EUCON!