Kyiv, December 28, 2015. Disappointment, inferiority complex and unwillingness to learn new things and trust foreign partners are the main hindrances on the way to the free trade area with the European Union which comes into effect on January 1, 2016, said experts presenting ‘How to enter the EU markets under conditions of free trade?’ manual at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to Volodymyr Yermolenko, director of European projects at Internews-Ukraine, the manual highlights practical aspects of Ukrainian producers’ entering the European market. Experts were working on the manual over a year, the authors held 10 workshops in different towns of Ukraine for representatives of businesses with participation of European integration experts and business consultants. “We were trying to reach maximum synergy, i.e. these are both theoretical and practical aspects,” said Yermolenko. The manual consists of two parts: the first one contains the maximum amount of practical resources and advice on entering the EU market and the second one is a summary of frequently asked questions and answers from workshop,” said Yermolenko.
Dmytro Shulga, head of the European program initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation said that as soon as the EU unilaterally opened a free trade area for Ukraine in spring, they received many queries from businesses regarding the ways of using this opportunity. The manual became a response to these queries. According to the International Renaissance Foundation representative, on one hand there is huge demand, and on the other hand, businesses are somewhat disappointed. “It is the most interesting illustration of our capabilities. Disappointment and inferiority complex are biggest problems we need to overcome,” said Shulga.
Author of the first part of the manual, business consultant and former expert at the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Oleh Miroshnichenko, said that unwillingness to learn new things and lack of self-confidence are the main barriers on this way. “This rubbish must be erased from the mind. Everything depends on us,” said the business consultant. He believes that a person wishing to enter foreign markets must be inquisitive, for when the market becomes understandable, it is much easier to enter it. Miroshnichenko shared his recipe for success: he suggests placing oneself in your business partner’s shoes. “This is a good touchstone for a success of a certain method. Nevertheless, we must make adjustments for the business culture used in one or another country,” he said. ‘How to enter the EU markets under conditions of free trade?’ manual provides information on what an export plan might be, how to find contractors in the EU countries, what are the requirements to products and other useful information.
“I do hope this manual will become a good tip for those Ukrainian enterprises and owners who want to develop and, in some cases, simply survive,” said expert at the Strategic Consulting Group (SCG), advisor to the Dean of Kyiv Mohyla Business School and co-author of the manual Inna Sosnovska. She believes the main task for Ukrainian producers today is making competitive products. Miroshnichenko says it is important to take interest in consumers’ mentality and psychology to satisfy their demand and not just mechanically approach the production. Moreover, he believes the state must support Ukrainian business’ entering the European market. “In fact, VAT becomes a punishment for export. You are exporting and there is additional charge, so selling in the domestic market is more profitable in comparison that exporting,” added the business consultant. Considering this, such a challenging step from the state would be highly efficient.
Luc Derieppe, French entrepreneur in Ukraine, Societe Gaelys Export president and co-author of the manual believes that ‘verticality’ is the biggest challenge Ukrainian face entering the European markets. This means that Ukrainian society, as opposed to the European society, believes that the top management makes all the decisions. Luc Derieppe explained that the goal is set by everyone and then everyone takes a share of work and completes it. In general, free economic area coming into effect is important both for Ukraine and Europe. “It is important for Ukrainians to try and export to the EU for two reasons. European market is rich and stable, so Ukrainian market will evolve too, for both buyers and customers will try to raise their standards,” believes the entrepreneur. Moreover, working with Ukrainian and adjust to these standards will be very beneficial for Ukrainians, he said.