U.S. Speaks up for Tobacco Investors

    Photo: Taco Tuinstra

    The American Chamber of Commerce (ACC) in Ukraine is concerned about the treatment of foreign investors in Ukraine in a dispute involving tobacco companies.

    Recently, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) fined British American Tobacco Ukraine, JTI Ukraine, Imperial Tobacco Ukraine, Philip Morris Ukraine and their distributors for alleged anticompetitive behavior.

    The tobacco firms are currently appealing the decision in court but have expressed concern about the trial because they did not have full access to the evidence on which the AMCU based its allegations.

    Two international tobacco companies have already submitted notifications to Ukraine to defend their rights as foreign investors in arbitration. Another two companies are considering submitting such notifications soon.

    In the absence of a prompt solution to this issue through negotiations with Ukraine’s state authorities, these disputes will be considered by international bodies for resolving investment disputes, and the party to the dispute will no longer be the AMCU, but Ukraine, according to the ACC.

    The ACC has cautioned that such disputes usually gain international publicity and can have a negative impact on Ukraine’s image among foreign investors.

    “The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine urges Ukraine’s government to respond appropriately to the notice of the investment dispute with the state of Ukraine initiated by international investors from the USA, Great Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands regarding the AMCU decision and to impartially consider the issue in compliance with Ukrainian legislation and international agreements,” the ACC wrote in a statement.

    “A quick, transparent, and fair resolution of the situation will help to maintain business relations between strategic investors and the state, not to damage Ukraine’s image and investment climate, and avoid losses to the state budget.”