During an official visit to the Republic of Austria, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy together with the Federal President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen took part in the Ukrainian-Austrian business forum at the Federal Economic Chamber of Austria.
"Every detail is important to us, every company is important to us. I would like someday all the companies represented here, and those companies that are in Austria, to appear in Ukraine," the President of Ukraine noted in his speech.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for intensification of bilateral trade and economic cooperation and noted the success stories of Austrian companies in Ukraine.
"An unprecedented window of opportunity is open in Ukraine today, and I sincerely invite you to join and make history together," he said.
The President of Ukraine called on the participants of the meeting to take part in the implementation of the projects of the National Program "Great Construction" and the revival of cultural and architectural heritage.
Areas in which Austrian companies have modern technologies and best practices should be of particular interest to them: the banking and insurance sectors, the energy and woodworking industries, road and ski infrastructure, in particular in the Carpathian region.
The Federal President of Austria stressed that Austrian business is represented in all Eastern European countries.
"We are connected by long-standing intensive economic cooperation. 200 branches of Austrian companies exist in Ukraine. I am grateful to all companies that want to find a place in the Ukrainian market," Alexander Van der Bellen said.
During the open dialogue, the leaders of the Austrian companies shared with the presidents their plans to establish and expand their presence in Ukraine in such areas as finance, real estate, light industry, healthcare, and organic agriculture.
The forum was also attended by Minister of Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine, Chairman of the Ukrainian part of the Ukrainian-Austrian Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Relations Oleksiy Chernyshov and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine Hennadiy Chyzhykov who got the participants of the event acquainted with new investment opportunities in Ukraine.
Oleksiy Chernyshov spoke in detail about the decentralization reform and its benefits for Ukrainian communities. He assured Austrian investors that the Ministry of Communities and Territories Development would do everything possible to ensure their effective cooperation in the regions and protect investments.
Hennadiy Chyzhykov noted that more than 50% of Austria's investments are innovations and industry. The rest of the businessmen invest in finance and retail.
"For Ukraine, the development of work with Austria, attracting innovation and investment have always been a priority. Ukrainian business, Ukrainian people have always been very positive about Austria. Austrian companies bring to Ukraine European methods, standards, advanced know-how," Hennadiy Chyzhykov emphasized.
He noted that more than 72% of electricity in Austria is generated from renewable sources, and it would be very good for Ukraine to learn Austria’s experience in this important area.
“It is important to share experience in forestry, and it is also an opportunity for cooperation. We are ready to share our experience in the field of information technologies," the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine noted.
Representatives of Austrian business spoke about the main areas of investment in the Ukrainian economy.
In particular, CEO of Austrian Agricultural Cluster Hermann Wieser stressed the importance of investing in the development of the agricultural sector. He proposed to create a technical agricultural school for young farmers in Ukraine.
"Ukraine has land with excellent resources. The point is that you can process agricultural products into high-quality products and export them to the world,” Hermann Wieser said.
He called on the President of Ukraine to join the implementation of this project.
Austrian business is also interested in implementing infrastructure projects in Ukraine. Joint projects in the field of road infrastructure will make it possible, in particular, to reduce the death rate on Ukrainian highways. The project of implementation of the toll system in order to finance the construction of roads in Ukraine was also discussed.
Representatives of Austrian business called for the development of joint logistics projects. They also stressed the importance of facilitating business in Ukraine and developing a "single window" system.
David Brenner, CEO of Kronospan GmbH, called for resolving the problematic issues of woodworking in Ukraine and standardizing legislative issues regarding timber exports.
"We hope that this reform will be carried out with great success," he said.
According to David Brenner, Ukraine needs to continue the fight against illegal deforestation.
Johann Strobl, Chief Executive Officer at Raiffeisen Bank International AG, noted that the bank is active in the Ukrainian market.
"We are very proud that in these difficult times we work in the framework of the state lending program "Available loans 5-7-9%". The support of the state in this regard is very important," he said.
Johann Strobl stressed that the bank is particularly interested in the stability of the Ukrainian market.
"The structural measures taken in Ukraine recently are simply exemplary. In such difficult times, you managed to reconcile all issues with the IMF and maintain fruitful relations," the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Raiffeisen Bank International AG noted.
He especially noted the reform of justice, which is being implemented in Ukraine.
Representatives of Austrian business raised the issue of responding to today's challenges. In their opinion, special attention should be paid to minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on bilateral trade relations.
Austrian entrepreneurs thanked Volodymyr Zelenskyy for creating stable conditions for work in Ukraine.