Engaging in Dialogue

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with representatives of the country’s largest tobacco manufacturers in Ukraine to discuss the challenges facing their business.

“The growth of investment into the economy of Ukraine is important for us¬†as it is an increase in the number of jobs and tax revenues,”¬†Zelensky said.

Tobacco companies are among Ukraine’s largest taxpayers, according to Zelensky. In the past nine months, the government collected almost UAH30.5 billion ($1.24 billion) in tobacco revenues, up 7.5 percent over the same period in 2018.

Zelensky stressed the importance of improving the business climate and ensuring the predictability of regulations in Ukraine, adding that combating monopolies and building competitive markets was also a priority.

In October, Ukraine’s competition watchdog fined cigarette manufacturers and a distributor UAH6.5 billion for anti-competitive behavior, according to Interfax Ukraine.

The Anti-Monopoly Committee said the country’s leading tobacco companies and their common distributor, TEDIS, had conspired to keep new businesses from entering the market.

Some tobacco companies have been mulling over the transfer of their offices and shutdown of operations.