On February 3, 2022, the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (IER) presented the fourth episode of a survey of Ukrainian exporters and importers on the Association Agreement, barriers to external economic activities and platform Diia.Business. The research was conducted under the project “Support to the Public Initiative” For Fair and Transparent Customs “with the support of the European Union, the Renaissance Foundation and the Atlas Network.
After 8 years of the Association Agreement implementation, business expectations regarding future gains have decreased – the results of the survey
In 2021, business assessed the impact of the Association Agreement with the EU positively. 38.6% of entrepreneurs believe their company has benefited from the Association Agreement and only 4.6% report a negative impact. Business expectations regarding future impact of the Association Agreement remain positive, however, the number of respondents that believe their business will benefit from the Agreement in the next five years has decreased from 45% in 2020 to 41% in 2021. “This year, we observe a halt in the trend toward the positive attitude growth to the Agreement among the respondents – said head of the project “For fair and transparent customs” Oksana Kuziakiv. – We recorded the lowest indicator for the whole survey period.” To our opinion, it means that Ukrainian business should see new perspectives for the Agreement, which can help with its revision that Ukraine has already begun.” With the growth of the size of the enterprise increases the percentage of businesspersons who have noted the positive impact of the Agreement. “If among 33,5% of small businesses respondents positively assessed the impact of the Agreement, then among the respondents representing large enterprises already 51.4%” — said Yevhen Anhel, Senior Research Fellow of the IER. The expert noted that small business requires more clear prospects and opportunities for their implementation within the Agreement.
In 2021, 12.8% of exporters and 29.9% of importers encountered obstacles in carrying out external economic activity. Both indicators have grown equally until 2020, noted Yevhen Anhel. The main obstacles for exporters in 2021 became the unpredictability of Ukraine’s trade policy, and for importers – the opacity of determining the customs value of goods.
“Digitalization is an important tool for simplifying trade procedures, and Diia.Business is one of them,” reported Oksana Kuziakiv. According to the results of the survey, more than half of entrepreneurs know about the platform “Diia.Business”, and about a quarter use it. Most of the users are small businesses. 98-99% of respondents know the majority of governmental websites, most often used are the State Customs Service and the State Tax Service portals.
In 2021, 28.2% of enterprises involved in the external economic activities were members of at least one business association, including trade and industrial chambers, unions of employers, unions of small enterprises, etc. At the same time, the survey showed that this indicator has been constantly decreasing over the past five years, pointed out Yevhen Anhel.
The survey was conducted using a computer- assisted quantitative telephone survey (CATI — computer assisted telephone interviews). All interviews were conducted with company representatives who can assess the economic situation of the company and the conditions of foreign economic activity (owners, directors, deputy directors, chief accountants, department heads or deputy heads of departments related to exports or imports). The survey involved 1,006 enterprises from all over Ukraine, except for the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as some regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are not controlled by the Government of Ukraine. This is the sixth wave of the IED survey. The previous ones were held in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and in 2020.