These days most of the businesses in Europe are looking for effective ways to adapt to the new reality caused by the coronavirus pandemic, or at least limit its negative impact on their activities. Norwegian businesses are no exception, and this is why they are invited to consider seriously new opportunities that may be offered through synergy with potential partners from Ukraine.
In particular, a non-exhaustive list of advantages of engaging with Ukrainian companies that may be relevant to Norwegian businesses include:
1) a versatile and innovative Ukrainian economy with rich resources and high-quality products – as of now Ukraine is considered among the world players in the IT sector, metallurgy, machinery industry, agriculture and agri-tech, textile manufacturing, aircraft construction, aerospace, and a number of other spheres (more information can be found here: https://norway.mfa.gov.ua/storage/app/sites/58/uploaded-files/ukraine-your-investment-destination-31-july-2020.pdf);
2) low costs of production and highly skilled human capital: Ukrainian workers are among the most highly-qualified in Europe while the average salary in Ukraine is still substantially lower than in the Nordic countries which contributes to the competitiveness of the Ukrainian goods and services on the world market, but also drives many European businesses to relocate their production to Ukraine;
3) business environment that becomes increasingly more familiar to the Norwegian companies: already for more than twenty years Ukraine has been steadily approximating its legislation to that of the European Union; since 2016, Ukraine and the EU have started to implement their Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement which remains till now the most progressive free trade agreement that the EU has with any third country; currently Ukraine is negotiating with the EU an Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products which will also apply to Norway and which will further facilitate trade exchanges between the companies of Ukraine and the EU/EEA countries; many companies from the EU/EEA countries have already duly appreciated those far-reaching changes, and as a result their share in Ukraine’s foreign trade balance rapidly reached almost 50% and continues to grow further;
4) unlocked trade potential between Ukraine and Norway: despite the evidence that the Ukrainian producers can offer high-quality products to Norwegian businesses and consumers at competitive prices, bilateral trade between Ukraine and Norway is still quite modest, even if compared with other Scandinavian countries (its total last year was about 330 million US dollars); indeed, all Nordic neighbours of Norway are already taking advantage of the opportunities of the Ukrainian economy and this is convincingly shown by the current trade figures: for example, as of now Finland imports two times more from Ukraine than Norway, Sweden – three times more, and imports of Denmark from Ukraine are almost ten times higher than those of Norway;
5) a lot of Ukrainian goods and services are currently supplied to Norway through intermediaries; it will make much more economic sense for Norwegian businesses to engage directly with Ukrainian producers and not pay a surcharge which is sometimes quite substantial if compared with the initial price of Ukrainian products;
6) strong cultural affinity between the Ukrainian and Norwegian peoples: Ukrainians are very easy and rewarding to work with and they also feel true sympathy towards Norwegians, not least thanks to deep cultural and historical links between the two nations that go back to the Viking Age;
7) eagerness of the Ukrainian government to proactively support mutually beneficial cooperation with Norwegian companies: in the last few years Ukraine has created an effective institutional framework designed to facilitate economic exchanges with its foreign partners; new structures – which will also be ready to support activities of Norwegian companies in Ukraine – include the National Investment Council under the leadership of the President of Ukraine, Ukraine Investment Promotion Office under the auspices of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Export Promotion Office within the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, Council of Exporters and Investors under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and some others.
The Embassy of Ukraine in Oslo will also be always willing to assist Norwegian companies with both launching mutually beneficial cooperation with Ukrainian companies and facilitating its development.
It should also be mentioned that recent significant increase in value of the Euro and the US dollar against the Norwegian krone might be another compelling argument for the Norwegian companies to try to explore new terrain in Ukraine.
In case a particular Norwegian company is ready to consider new opportunities for its business in Ukraine, this company is invited to send more specific information about its potential needs in goods or services to the Embassy of Ukraine in Norway to the following e-mail address: [email protected] The more concrete information it will be (if possible, with technical descriptions, expected initial volumes of supplies etc), the more informative response the Embassy of Ukraine will be able to provide. On the basis of the received information the Embassy of Ukraine will prepare and send to the Norwegian company a shortlist of reliable Ukrainian companies which could be most relevant to its expectations. It will be entirely up to the Norwegian company then to decide on whether to make the next move and hold initial exploratory talks with potential Ukrainian partners (the Embassy of Ukraine will also be ready to help in organizing such exploratory talks, for example in the format of online conference).
At the same time, Norwegian companies may always rely on any other assistance from the Embassy of Ukraine in Oslo in their eventual cooperation with Ukrainian partners.