On Thursday, February 8, 2018, U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) hosted a business luncheon with several members of the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament[ of Ukraine, who were in Washington, D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast and a series of meetings with the U.S. political and government leaders. The luncheon was hosted by the Embassy of Ukraine to the U.S.A.
Ambassador Valeriy Chaly introduced the guests from the Verkhovna Rada and noted that without the Verkhovna Rada it’s impossible to implement reforms which Ukraine desperately needs; the Ambassador also thanked USUBC for continued support of the Embassy.

Morgan Williams, President, USUBC welcomed the legislators from Ukraine to the U.S. and expressed USUBC members’ hopes that the Verkhovna Rada will further tackle reforms including the pension system, the state monopolies and privatization, the Anti-Corruption Court, the infrastructure etc.

The USUBC members in attendance were able to hear from the parliamentarians on a range of issues pertaining to various reform processes going on in Ukraine and the upcoming 2019 elections. The members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine stressed that the current priorities of the Rada focus on strengthening of economic growth of the country, increasing the cost of aggression for Russia, energy reform (including a larger role for alternative/renewable energy), judicial system reform, further reforms in the healthcare, pensions, education system, cybersecurity and public administration (including further decentralization).

When it comes to improving business climate through the legislative changes, the Rada plans to focus on further improvements of the automated VAT refund system including reducing to the very minimum if not to zero the non-automated contact between taxpayers and State Fiscal Service representatives to further minimize corruption and improve efficiency of tax administration; the reform of the capital market which is needed for the proper implementation of the pension reform; replacement of Tax Police with an IRS-style analytical investigative agency which will cooperate with the law enforcement agencies but will not have within itself the armed personnel, as is the case now.

Further changes to legislation will be coming to approximate Ukraine’s legislation to that of the EU, as required by the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including in data protection, various product quality standards, EU’s Third Energy Package etc.

As the Verkhovna Rada awaits for the President to introduce a new taxation system based on the replacement of corporate income tax with the tax on distributed capital, the legislators will consider the concerns expressed about the proposal by USUBC members.

The Verkhovna Rada members expressed gratitude for the support which the U.S. government has provided to Ukraine, including on the very important issue of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which Russia intends to build bypassing Ukraine and which will put the EU energy security at further risk and to the U.S. business which stayed committed to Ukraine despite the Russian invasion and illegal occupation of the Crimea.

The discussants from Verkhovna Rada included:

1. Artur Herasimov, Pesident’s Representative at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Chair, “Petro Poroshenko Bloc” Faction in the Verkhovna Rada;

2. Anton Herashchenko, Secretary, Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement;

3. Oleg Kryshyn, Secretary, Tax and Customs Policy Committee;

4. Maksym Yefimov, First Deputy Chair, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship Committee;

5. Yuriy Solovey, Deputy Chair, Economic Policy Committee;

6. Oksana Yurynets, Chair, Subcommittee on Regional and Cross-Border Cooperation between Ukraine and the EU Countries of  Committee on European Integration;

7. Andrii Shypko, Chair, Subcommittee on Legislative Support of Pharmaceutical Industry Development, Pharmaceutical Industry Operations, Medicines Availability.

More pictures of the event: http://www.usubc.org/site/gallery/USUBC-meeting-with-members-of-Ukrainian-Parliament