Top quotes, key highlights of Capturing New Markets

Ukraine’s milk industry is one of the most successful exporters to the European Union. Loostdorf is one of the 10 Ukrainian dairy producers that entered the EU market on Jan. 10. Photo by Ukrinform
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The Kyiv Post’s March 29 Capturing New Markets conference presented a discussion of the key strategies that Ukrainian companies can use in exporting to the European Union, Turkey and the Middle East and North Africa region. The conference attracted more than 260 business people, journalists and experts.

The entire discussion can be viewed online.

The following are top quotes and key points from the conference:


The EU has strict certification standards and therefore is more difficult to penetrate than other markets;

• But once a company enters the EU market, it is much easier to access other global markets because of those same high EU standards;

• To successfully capture new markets, a company must have the following: a certified product, a supply chain, business insurance and reliable post-transaction services;

• The Ukrainian government and parliament are doing little to help businesses to export.

Jan Tombinski, head of the delegation of the EU to Ukraine

• “I wish to extend my thanks to the Kyiv Post for not only organizing this conference but for feeding us every week with good information… It has been a reference now in different segments, including in Brussels, for people who wish to be more acquainted with the Ukrainian situation.”

• “I remember well all discussions in Poland about how weak the Polish economy was, and how it couldn’t withstand this competition in the European market… and 25 years later I see the same problems in Ukraine.”

• “We’ve encountered a huge problem in mentality. People that are convinced they have a very good product and telling us: ‘we have a very good product… take it and sell it on the European markets.”

• “We will not go with your products to the European markets to sell them, because it is the responsibility of everyone who is involved in the business to promote these products and to sell the product.”

• “The state should create a structure that allows those who are producers to get this certification, dedicated laboratories … But the result up to now is still very much below our expectations. And this should be much better addressed by the respective ministries and institutions in Ukraine to help Ukrainian producers to export.

• “Nothing will be given for granted, because the European market is a very competitive market.”

• “Your partners and the EU are among the best partners of Ukraine, (they) are all interested in having Ukraine as a sustainable, stable, well-performing (country), and in using all of the potential in the country.”

• “Export fairs are good, but not enough. You should bring people, producers, to the places where transactions are made.”

• “Quotas will not help diversify Ukrainian exports to the EU. Quotas are already used by those who are on the European market… Quotas are one only element of exports, but will not solve the issue.”

• “No one is waiting for Ukraine in the European market. I will contest this statement. We are waiting, especially from the point of view of the European regulators of institutions. Why? Because we wish to use all of the tools to improve competitiveness, which (brings) new ideas to the market… We need Ukraine on the European market.”

Francis Malige, managing director, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

• “One of the best ways to conquer the European markets is to take advantage of the power of this country and make it a manufacturing base. For European investors to come and invest, they will bring technology, they will bring competitiveness… That is going to help exports more than anything else.”

• “But I like it that (Ukraine’s exports are) 10 times bigger this year than 10 years ago… which means Ukraine has become a much more powerful export machine already, without the DCFTA (deep and comprehensive free-trade agreement).”

• “I’m impressed when I go to visit clients who used to sell 80 percent of their products to the Russian market, and now I hear names like Togo... Egypt… But I also hear names like Poland and like Germany, which were not simply in the conversation two years ago.”

• “One of the things, thanks to the EU support, we’re going to start implementing in the coming weeks is the opening of a network of business support centers for small and medium companies to help them adapt themselves to DCFTA requirements, and learn how to go and sell to the EU markets.” 

Nataliya Mykolska, deputy minister of economic development and trade, trade representative of Ukraine

• “Both business and the government now need to be fast and furious in exports. We cannot sit down and wait, and Ambassador Tombinski was right -- nobody will come and say to us: ‘ok, we want to import your goods.’”

• First you need to be fast, and second you need to be persistent. Coming to a new market is not a question of a day’s work: I would say it’s work of up to a year.”

• “Businesses that invest in consulting, and invest in their work to conquer a new market, are more successful.

• “We’re missing strong business and industrial association(s).”

• “The state budget of Ukraine does not provide any funds for financing Ukrainian pavilions in international (exhibitions).”

• “(The Economy Ministry) plans to set up an insurance export agency that will provide potential underwriting.”

• “Right now we have a huge problem – and here I call for businesses to work with us – it is populism in parliament… They’re now saying that right now an export credit agency can be effectively created in Ukraine. No, it can’t.” 

Yuriy Kosyuk, CEO, Myronivsky Hliboproduct

• “First of all, you need to understand who you are competing with in your market and what you are better at. Then… we got rid of people that have the negative experience of the Soviet period in our industry.”

• “If you want to build a new thing, a new house of a new format, then probably you need to invite absolutely new architects, designers… who will build a house of the future instead of carrying this load (of the past).” 

Irina Mirochnik, President, Ukrplastic

• “In a couple of years, once we received a certificate, we understood that we needed it, that it changes the mentality inside of the company, that it cleanses the company of people who don’t work, and in the end it saves money. It creates a normal process and gives guarantees to our contractors regarding the security and stability of delivery.”

• “Probably everyone has their own experience, but this is how we enter countries: first we hire consulting companies … we hire outsourcing in accounting and customs, and the rest is based on personal contacts.”

• “From the very start we became members of different professional associations.”


• Ukraine is a strategic priority for Turkey and has become more attractive after their fallout with Russia;

• Turkish business experts predict the upcoming Turkey-Ukraine free trade agreement will double Turkish trade with Ukraine from $4.3 billion to $9 billion;

• Since Turkey made comprehensive reforms in 2001, it has quadrupled its gross domestic product and exports. Ukraine should see the similar results if it applies these reforms.

Tarkan Kadooglu, President Turkonfed

• “Turkey always tries to find new markets, and especially after the loss of Russia, Ukraine has become more attractive.” 

Yonet C. Tezel, Ambassador of Turkey to Ukraine

• “Kyiv Post is more than just a newspaper. It’s a strong supporter of reform and success in Ukraine, which we are also.” 

• “Ukraine is a strategic interest for Turkey. That is why its success is important to us.”

• “The expectations are the same for all the investors: reforms, rule of law, better investment climate. In the case of Turkey there is an additional point – a free trade agreement. The example of Egypt: before its free trade agreement with Turkey investment stood at $600 million, after the agreement Turkish investments increased to $2 billion in two years.”

• “The trade balance is in favor of Ukraine right now. Ukraine’s trade deficit with Turkey over 15 years totals up to $33 billion already.” 

Barlas Balcioglu, managing partner of Dentons’ Istanbul office

• “In Turkey you will find extremely eager trade partners…They will always find a way to gain your trust.”

• “If you are going to invest in Turkey you need to know the country. The fastest way to do that is of course to team up Turkish business or competitors. You can (also) do it on your own. There are more hurdles to understanding how the market functions, (it costs) time and money, but in the end you find the right path.”

John Woodman, head of trading and deputy commercial director at DTEK Energy

• “In the Donbas it’s extremely difficult to do business... What we’re seeing from a macro standpoint is 80-100,000 tons of illegally produced coal moved into the Rostov region (Russia), (documents on) its origins changed, and sold on as a Russian product. We don’t know exactly where this coal is going, but we know it’s definitely dampening the market.”

Tatiana Korotka, deputy business ombudsman

• “Turkish experience in investment reform would be highly appreciated by our group employees. It is especially important in the light of the upcoming free trade agreement.” 


• Middle Eastern nations continue to grow at stunning rates, but without the quota system of Europe, making their markets ripe for Ukrainian exports;

• Internal problems with export infrastructure and lack of preparation for foreign trade delegations made it harder for Ukrainian firms to compete;

• Ukraine is taking its first steps in exporting to the Middle East, but has a long way to go in building up its image as a reliable exporter abroad.

Yuriy Sydorov, ambassador of the International Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates

• “The Middle East is waiting for us.”

• “We face internal problems in Ukraine in finding providers of adequate quality (goods) for export.”

• “The pleasure of living in the UAE, as a resident, is that 90 percent of people aren’t strangers. Chinese, Japanese, Germans, Pakistanis – the first question is ‘what do you do?’ And then ‘where are you from?’”

Andrey Serdyuk, head of sales for Asia Pacific and Middle East, Centravis

• “Ukraine’s brand is important, not only in the Middle East, but everywhere in the world.”

• “The more we export Ukrainian products, the more it will help us and our brand overseas.”

• “We’re watching Iran. Iran could be beautiful -- there is billions of dollars of business to be done there. We’re preparing, we already have potential partners, we’ve already spoken with potential end users.” Vladyslava Rutytska, deputy minister on European integration, Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine

• “One third of Ukraine’s exports go to the Middle East and Africa.”

• “Agricultural producers should cooperate with us on how to improve value-added exports.”

• “We anticipate increasing exports of fruit and vegetables to MENA.”

Source: KyivPost 

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