Norwegian-Ukrainian Business Forum 2014
- Kyiv, Ukraine
On the 18th of November, 2014 NUCC organized Norwegian-Ukrainian Business Forum (NUBF) in Kyiv. The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and the Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk were among the speakers and above 350 people from more than 100 Norwegian and 150 Ukrainian companies and institutions attended the event.
Crucial target areas for cooperation between our two countries, such as ICT, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Seafood, Agriculture and Competence were highlighted at NUBF 2014 and discussed in panels.
In his speech at the NUBF Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized: “If Norwegian companies representing the energy sector are ready to invest in Ukraine’s gas transport system, Ukraine’s Government is ready to submit a law to let not only European and US but also Norwegian companies directly invest in the Ukrainian gas transport system and underground storage facilities.”
Arseniy Yatsenyuk noted that the visit of Erna Solberg and the organization of the NUBF are “strong signals of solidarity to the Ukrainian people,” and stressed that the Government of Ukraine appreciates the support of Norway.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine also stressed the importance of cooperation between Ukrainian and Norwegian companies. He recalled that Ukraine had signed a free trade agreement with Norway, but is convinced that the level of mutual investments between Ukraine and Norway “could be much deeper.”
“We highly appreciate the level of bilateral cooperation between NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy and Norwegian-based Statoil, which is a world leader in the supply of energy. The agreement signed in October is a clear sign of our commitment to the new energy policy, commitment to Ukraine regarding the implementation of the Third Energy Package as well as an excellent field for our cooperation. The experience we gained in cooperation with Statoil is very important and positive. We expect that Norwegian companies will be partners and investors in the energy sector,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk added.
The second stimulus of the Ukrainian economy and a potential field for more Ukrainian-Norwegian cooperation, according to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is agriculture: “We are pleased to see the Norwegian business in the Ukrainian agrarian sector and we also see new ways of cooperation and business activity in this sector.”
According to him, the Ukrainian agricultural sector is the only branch of the economy that showed a 6% upward trend.
“Another positive piece of news is that Ukraine has risen in the ranking of Doing Business by six positions. We expected approximately a 10 % drop in GDP, but it may be up to 7%,” the Prime Minister added.
He stressed that the war unleashed by Russia “is the main obstacle on our way towards more stable, prosperous and attractive Ukrainian economy.”
“We will make every effort to stabilize the economy, to fulfill all the requirements set by the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions. We must implement tough reforms that we have already started six months ago, and pave the way for economic stability, which we expect to achieve in 2016.”
Erna Solberg, the first Norwegian Prime Minister to visit independent Ukraine, said the nation “has been in the hearts of most Norwegians in the last year.” She said seminars such as the NUBF “also show there is a way forward for bringing more hope and development to Ukraine.”
She also noted that, while ties between Norway and Ukraine go back to the medieval Viking era, bilateral trade remains weak in almost all areas except the export of Norwegian seafood to Ukraine. She said 35 Norwegian companies are doing business in Ukraine, but hoped for more development in the agricultural and energy spheres, especially as Ukraine strengthens its rule of law.
Afterwards, Deputy Head of Presidential Administration Dmytro Shymkiv, in charge of reforms, highlighted the three major areas of reform in the next three years: 1. rule of law; 2. deregulation and 3. decentralization.
Many other prominent government representatives also participated at the NUBF, including the Norwegian Minister of EEA and EU Affairs Mr. Vidar Helgesen, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, and the Norwegian Deputy Ministers of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Mrs. Dilek Ayhan and Mr. Amund D. Ringdal.
We want to thank our general sponsor, the Norwegian MFA, our organizing partner ICC, and our sponsors, the Norwegian Seafood Council, Telenor, Kyivstar and EVRY.
NUCC’s ambition is to organize the next NUBF in Oslo in 2016.