Ukraine

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8:40 AM Thursday, October 19, 2017
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UBJ AM Sept. 25, 2017
​Canadian co. to build 5 solar power plants; New foreigner visa and work permit rules start Wed.; Ukraine business conferences draw more attendees
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• TIU Canada Ltd., of Calgary, plans to build five solar power stations in Ukraine for a total of EUR 94 million. The investment was announced in the framework of President Poroshenko’s meeting Friday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa. The first solar station, a EUR 14 million, 10.5 MW plant built by Helios Strategia is to open this fall at the Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant in Dnipropetrovsk region. Next spring, construction is to start on the four other plants - one in the Kherson region and three in the Mykolayiv region. TIU cites Ukraine’s advantages – one of Europe’s highest ‘green tariffs,’ a large number of contractors, and fast, cheap construction.

• Ukraine will open a consulate general in Edmonton, the historic heart of the Ukrainian community in Western Canada. In addition to the embassy in Ottawa, Ukraine has a consulate general in Toronto. About 1.2 million Canadians, or 3 percent of the population, is of Ukrainian descent. In Ottawa, Poroshenko pushed for Ukrainians’ visa-free access to Canada. He later wrote on social media: "We agreed to significantly reduce the number of refusals to Ukrainians when obtaining Canadian visas. And the validity of visas will be prolonged for the period of validity of the passport."

• U.S. President Donald Trump told President Poroshenko during their meeting in New York that American companies see real potential in Ukraine, saying "[American] companies are going very strongly right now into the Ukraine. They see a tremendous potential there, so take good care of them." Poroshenko said: “The turnover between the United States and Ukraine during the last seven months increased 2.5 times…we welcome American companies in the Ukrainian market, and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, both in Ukraine and the U.S.”

• Starting Wednesday, Ukrainian officials will enforce new rules for the country’s work permit and temporary residence permit programs. The wide ranging changes affect documentation requirements, validity periods, minimum salaries, processing times, filing deadlines and fees. The goal is to ease bureaucratic demands and to speed up processing times for work permits and temporary residence permits.

• Agriculture, infrastructure and energy are the most promising areas for investment in Ukraine through 2020, according to Makar Paseniuk, managing partner of ICU Investment Group. Capital investment inched up to 15.4% of GDP in Q2 2017, from 13% in 2015, but it should be 20-25%, he told ICU’s annual Ukrainian Financial Forum in Odesa. As an example for investment, he cited the nation’s Soviet-era power generation and energy supply which needs $15-20 billion for renewal.

• As an indicator of increasing business activity, attendance at the Ukraine Financial Forum hit 329 – a 50 percent increase over last year. Registrations also are strong for tomorrow’s (Sept. 26) Kyiv Investment Forum at Parkovy Convention Center. Parkovy also will host, on Oct. 5-6, the Kiev International Economic Forum, which has outgrown its tradition venue, Hilton Kyiv.

• With IT an increasingly important part of Ukraine’s economy, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman is forming an Innovation Council to advise the Cabinet of Ministers on draft laws on technology parks, development of IT, and establishment of an innovation fund.

• The Finance Ministry is preparing proposals to cut rent for new gas wells to 12 percent, from the current 14-29% depending on the depth of wells, Minister Danulyuk told the Rada Friday. Last year, the Rada’s Tax Policy Committee rejected a similar initiative, but Prime Minister Groysman believes he has sufficient political support. The government has set a goal for self sufficiency in gas by 2020, a status not enjoyed since the 1970s, when Ukraine was a Soviet republic.

• Waste to Energy International, a Prague-based company, would like to build its first project in Ukraine, a EUR 65 million trash incinerator in Tyachiv, a city on the Romanian border, 135 km east of Uzhgorod. Igor Pogribny, co- founder of the AMG Group Insurance Co. and Ukrainian partner of the Czech company, have pitched the city council of Tyachiv, a city of 10,000 people. The Council is to decide next month.

• A Ukrainian electric bicycle startup hits it $50,000 Kickstarter funding goal 20 hours after posting its campaign, announced Danylo Tonkopiy, founder of the Odesa startup. Delfast is the latest of a string of Ukrainian startups that are getting capital through Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. As of Sunday evening, Delfast had pledges of $82,488. Tonkapiy claims his e-bikes can go for 380 km without a recharge.

• Ukraine plans to privatize Odesa Portside Plant in spring 2018, according to the State Property Fund. Two attempts to sell the plant last year failed for lack of bidders.

• Yuriy Kosiuk, the founder and chief executive of MHP, Ukraine's largest poultry producer and a major grain grower, has joined the call for a farm land market. He said last week: "The land market should be free. People should have the right to sell." He doubted that there would be a land rush of sellers, saying: "People are not ready. People would keep land.” Sales of farmland have been put on hold since 2001.

• Fitch Ratings hails Ukraine's return to international bond market, but stresses that official lenders -- chiefly the IMF -- remain the cornerstone of Ukraine's external financing and guarantor of its commitment to reform. “Fitch does not anticipate a strong pick-up in FDI inflows in 2017-2018, leaving official disbursements (mostly from the IMF) to provide the bulk of net external financing," the ratings agency says on its website. "We believe that the IMF program also underpins the confidence and reform momentum that supported Ukraine's bond market return and helps ensure support from other official sector creditors.”

• The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are concerned about amendments to pending pension reform legislation needed to unlock further funding under a $17.5 billion IMF program, the World Bank's Ukraine director said on Friday, according to Reuters. Ukraine, whose 12 million pensioners number almost as many as the officially employed population, spends more money on pensions as a percentage of gross domestic product than almost any other country. Pensions now average about $2 a day.

• Victor Dovgan, deputy minister infrastructure for European integration, recently toured the Port of Gdansk Container Terminal. Ukrainian and Polish officials are mapping out a south-north trade corridor that would run 1,650 km from Odesa on the Black Sea to Gdansk on the Baltic. Streamlined road and rail links would provide a fast, short cut for exporters in Ukrainian, Turkey and other Black Sea nations to send their products to markets in northern Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia.


For comments and story tips, email UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke at james.brooke@theubj.com

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