A Ukrainian-Belgian business forum, headed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Prince Philippe of Belgium, was recently opened. Some 150 Belgian businessmen from 105 companies operating in different sectors came to examine the investment attractiveness of our country and the peculiarities of the Ukrainian market.
“We highly appreciate the strengthening of economic relations with Belgium,” Ukraine’s prime minister addressed foreign investors during the forum. After this Azarov hasted to ensure the businessmen that the situation in Ukraine was stable and the investment environment of Ukraine had been normalized. To prove this, he stated the results of the first nine months of 2010: GDP growth of almost 5 percent, and industrial production growth of almost 11 percent. “We considerably increased our currency reserves and the stability of our currency raises no doubts,” added the prime minister. Azarov called the current protests against the Tax Code manifestations of democracy. Finally, the prime minister stated that the government was ready to promote and support Belgian investors interested in cooperation with Ukraine.
On his behalf, Prince Philippe outlined the sphere of interests of Belgian business in Ukraine. According to him, the construction sector, transport infrastructure and food industry are the priority directions of Ukrainian-Belgian trade partnership. Participation in the preparation and holding of the European soccer championship in 2012 and the realization of energy saving and green technology projects are also interesting for Belgian business. Belgian businessmen will look for contacts with Ukrainian colleagues for one more day.
“All the companies that came to the forum as part of the Belgian economic mission can be divided into four groups,” stated Marc Bogaerts, the director general of the Belgian Foreign Trade Agency. He referred to the companies that are already present on the Ukrainian market as being in the first group. “They participate in the mission because they know that we come with the prince-successor, and during these days there will be many public activities in Ukraine which can be useful for them,” explained Bogaerts. He described the second group as comprising companies that already have contacts with Ukraine but want to increase them. “The third group is made up of companies which came here recently and want to come with the mission as a first step. This gives them an opportunity to be part of the mission, together with companies which already know the market and have the necessary contacts, and also to get information on how to deal with the Ukrainian market,” he added. The last group is very small, and is made up of companies which don’t care whether it is Kyiv, Moscow or Buenos Aires. “It is important for them that the prince, ministers, and industry representatives will be there, which will enable those companies to talk about internal problems with them, as in Belgium they can wait for months for a meeting,” added the director general.