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President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Federal President of the Republic of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen took part in the Ukrainian-Austrian business forum. The President informed that the day before yesterday he had held a unique meeting with business attended by more than 700 representatives of business associations and major business companies. He noted that such meetings were effective in protecting business and improving the working conditions of investors in Ukraine. For example, after the first two meetings during which the complaints about the pressure on employers on the part of the security forces were announced, a so-called "mask show stop" law was drafted and passed, prohibiting security officials to exert pressure on business.
"The first important result - in 3.5 hours of the last meeting, we had no complaints about the actions of the security forces. This was the most important conclusion of all of my meetings," Petro Poroshenko said. He also noted that during the last meeting, the issue of replacing the income tax with the withdrawn capital tax, which successfully functions in Estonia, Georgia and provides economic growth, was discussed.
The Head of State noted that more than 40 representatives of Austrian companies accompany the Austrian President today, because they are extremely interested in investment opportunities, production development, market development, strengthening economic, political and cultural relations.
4 years ago, when the illegal annexation of Crimea took place, representatives of many companies considered it dangerous to stay in Ukraine. Some of them lost one's nerve and left. Now, they regret about that, he said.
The Head of State appealed with gratitude to every Austrian businessman who works in Ukraine: "None of you, none of the hundred Austrian companies left Ukraine. Each of you firmly believed in the prospects of cooperation between Ukraine and Austria".
According to him, Austria is the sixth largest country-investor in Ukraine and Austrian enterprises created more than 30 thousand jobs. These companies bring European methods, standards, technologies and European know-how to Ukraine, he said.
The President recalled the measures aimed to protect the investors and improve the investment climate: adoption in the first reading of the law on the Anticorruption Court, creation of the NABU, SAP, National Agency for Prevention of Corruption, public selection of judges etc. According to him, the judicial reform and fully updated Supreme Court provide Ukrainians with the right to justice, and investors - with the right to protection.
The Head of State also recalled the adoption of a new privatization law, which introduces new rules for selling state property; change in the legal rules of the VAT refund; introduction of ProZorro's unique electronic procurement system; introduction of decentralization; clearing the banking system and restoring the efficiency of the banking sector.
He stresses that fundamental changes in the investment climate are taking place, the Tax Code is changing, the tax burden on wages decreases, construction regulation procedures are being simplified, opening and registration of companies is facilitated.
"I emphasize that this is only the beginning. A substantive debate is held on the creation of the State Investigation Bureau and, which is extremely important for business, the National Bureau of Financial Security. Prosecutors, Security Service or police officers will no longer have the right to come to business. Only one analytical service will be created to provide effective protection of state interests," Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
He also expressed confidence that Ukraine is opening up even more opportunities for investment. The President recalled the data of sociological research, according to which more than 70% of respondents believe that Ukraine is one of the top five investment-friendly countries.
In this context, the Head of State noted that Ukraine had significantly increased investments from Austria. The largest foreign bank operating in our country is Austrian, the largest insurance companies are also Austrian, one of the Austrian companies takes 80% of raw materials from Ukraine. The Austrian company in Ukraine has established the production of skis. "What else could be the best symbol for our cooperation " Petro Poroshenko addressed the audience.
"We have a lot of positive stories, we have a lot of investors' insights on how Ukraine has changed over the past 3.5 years. I have a request to you. The first is to continue to invest in Ukraine - for those who have already invested. The second is for those who are still hesitating - now is the right time and place to be here. And the third - do not be silent, talk about your impressions in Ukraine. Because I am absolutely convinced that you cannot but fall in love with Ukraine," the Head of State noted.
In his turn, Federal President of the Republic of Austria Alexander van der Bellen noted that the bilateral trade again showed signs of significant improvement. "In recent years, exports from Austria to Ukraine and Austrian imports from Ukraine have increased significantly," he said, adding that "these are serious figures that demonstrate significant potential for the development of these relations".
The Austrian President noted that such growth was largely facilitated by the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. He also stressed that Austria had a huge interest in the Ukrainian market.
"Austria has always been one of the largest investors in Ukraine. But yet huge potential is not disclosed," Alexander Van der Bellen said, adding that Ukraine and Austria can receive mutual benefits".
He noted the achievement of economic stability in Ukraine and emphasized that the country is the largest country in Europe with a huge domestic market.