Ukraine path to the European Union was long and thorny. By the way, for our country it is still not finished, but Ukrainians can already be proud of tangible changes. One of the most notable changes is the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The controversy surrounding it have even led to EuroMaidan, the Revolution of Dignity and power shift in the country. As a result, after 10 years of discussion, Ukrainians were able to get closer to the European Union and open borders for themselves. ‘Halytskyi Korespondent’ shares the success stories of those who work with Europe and are oriented on it in business.
Key points for Ukrainian business are the fourth and fifth sections of the Agreement. More than 80% of this document relates to trade, economic and sectoral cooperation. They constitute the so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area that opened for Ukrainians in January 2016. This is a type of international integration in which member countries abolish customs duties and taxes, as well as quantitative restrictions in mutual trade in accordance with an international treaty. It has become a complex gift for domestic business, as it involves liberalization of shared access to market and, at the same time, harmonization of Ukrainian rules and regulations with European ones, avoidance of discrimination of companies, goods and services in the territory of Ukraine and the EU.
For the Ukrainian business, the rules laid down in the Agreement meant significant transformations, job improvements, certification, and a huge amount of new information. But for many businesses, in particular those that are developing exports, the changes brought about by the Agreement are still unclear.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry explains that it will be possible to feel these transformations only by working in the direction of export for a long time – serious changes require many years, and, as you know, no pain, no gain. For a Ukrainian entrepreneur, this is a huge amount of work related to certification; the product should become significantly better to be sold to a European buyer.
Foreign trade partners in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast were non-residents from more than 100 countries of the world. And although many business are only developing, there are some which have made a name for themselves not only in Ukraine but also abroad.
Oleh Tsymbaliuk, Commercial Director of Intelkom LLC, says that the company has been engaged in exports since 2002. Their product is a children’s toy of their own production, starting with design, creating a marketing model, studying the demand on the market and ending with the finished toy in the child’s hands. Intelkom produces high-quality and safe plastic toys – toy cars, tabletop games, children’s tableware, outdoor games, developmental toys. It also deals with what is only gaining popularity in Ukraine – they produce toys that allow children to create their own products, such as embroidered toys.
The company started exporting to Europe relatively recently, but it works steadily with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia.
“First of all, a new approach to the quality of goods has become our advantage. The European market is more demanding and more competitive. We have to ensure better quality. This market is more responsive to innovations, new designs and new approaches. There were no obstacles as such. We have a well-developed strategy, we have studied the European market”, – Oleh Tsymbaliuk says.
Volodymyr Okpepkyi, Director of Intelkom LLC, recalls that they were counting on equality and the opportunity to make a name for themselves.
“There is a market, it dictates certain rules and conditions, and there are preconditions that we meet in order to enter the European market. We cannot say that European buyers refuse our products, except when we were non-competitive, but we are constantly working to improve the quality of our goods” – Company Director emphasizes.
Intelkom’s toys are of high quality, and therefore people love them all over the world. At the same time, the management acknowledges that cooperation with other countries is a guarantee of European quality of toys.
Ligos, the manufacturer of croissants No. 1, which come packed to consumers in 2018, having the largest market share in Ukraine, shares its success story. These are the conclusions of European expert analysts who investigated the realities of the Ukrainian market. Similar to French, croissants are tasty for a foreign consumer, but their main buyer is Ukrainian.
Ligos is a highly specialized manufacturer of croissants in Ukraine for 18 years. It has received a national recognition, and its products meet the world standards of certification for food manufacturers. Director General Liliia Matvieieva says that they are working in the segment of bakery products, and the implementation of such consumer inquiries requires unique technological and technical upgrades.
In 2019 the company will implement its successful innovative projects, create new tastes, as well as new types of its proprietary product. The company plans to develop not only in the territory of Ukraine, but also become a strong business player beyond its borders.
In fact, Ligos actively develops the export of its products. Over the past two years, the list of countries where the croissants made in Ivano-Frankivsk are enjoyed has been significantly expanded: Poland, Germany, Sweden, Belarus. First deliveries to Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan have already taken place.
“Because of the fact that our croissant is close to the traditional French one to a great extent, it is gaining popularity abroad, but our main consumers still are Ukrainians,” – Liliia Matvieieva emphasizes.
The producers of croissants from Ivano-Frankivsk had ambitious export plans, therefore, in addition to hoping for an Agreement, they clearly planned their actions. They recall that an important strategic goal of the company as of 2016 was to bring it to a new level of the export market. For this purpose, Ligos has created a separate export product line, the work on which lasted two years.
As of 2016, Ligos signed its first export contracts with several countries, and on 12 December of the same year, the first export supply of the specialized products took place.
Thanks to the experience gained during 2017 and 2018, the company began to introduce topical practical cases and effective export solutions for the consolidation of a national producer on the export market of the countries all over the world.
By improving the principles of work, quality of production and packaging, standardization of business, the company has achieved the IFS (International Food Standard) of specialized products.
“The signing of the Association Agreement with the EU incited a Ukrainian producer to apply new business solutions, optimize core business processes, and receive additional demand” – CEO says.
Another product from Subcarpathia, which gained popularity abroad, is eggs.
The history of Avangard agribusiness holding company began in 2003 with the purchase of a poultry farm not far from Ivano-Frankivsk. Today, the company includes 19 poultry farms, 2 full-cycle egg production poultry farms, 6 compound feed mills, 3 long-term storage facilities for eggs, Imperovo-Foods plant with a production capacity of up to 6 million eggs per day, a biogas plant at the Chornobaivske poultry farm with a capacity of 6 MW, producing 3 MW of electricity and 3 MW of thermal energy.
“The first export of products was effected by the company in 2009, and in 2017 it sold 558 million eggs and 2 561 tons of dry egg products to 37 countries worldwide. The geography of our exports includes Middle East, Africa, Asia and the CIS countries. And from February 2018 – EU countries: Avis poultry farm has received an official permit for export of edible eggs of grade “A” to the European Union countries”, – Marianna Konina, Head of Communications at Avangard agribusiness holding company.
The formula for success is that we managed to find our own niche and fill it in a quality manner. Ukrainian food products, in particular eggs and egg products, are competitive and in demand on the foreign market. At the same time, this is a very difficult way. Exports have contributed significantly to the company’s development, as it means an increase in sales, the diversification of markets, receipt of currency earnings, creation of new jobs, and making its own contribution to the development of the Ukrainian economy.
The company notes that the way to the European market also prepares many tests for Ukrainians, because, besides the Association Agreement and the creation of an export brand of Ukraine, it is still necessary to implement the country’s export strategy, and the companies need to negotiate with other foreign neighbors and learn how to create a high-quality product.
Nevertheless, Subcarpathia is still confidently exporting. It happens that the first attempts prove to be unsuccessful, but dedicated work always brings success. And Europe is ready to reward Ukrainian business for high-quality work – to enable Europeans to eat dainties, play and dress Ukrainian products.
This publication has been prepared within the framework of the Project “Regions for Reforms” with the assistance of the European Union (http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid). The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the ‘Halytskyi Korespondent’ newspaper and in no way reflects the point of view of the European Union.
By Marta Baranetska
Source – Galyckyi korespondent