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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Businessmen Slam Ukraine Investment Climate

KIEV -- Top foreign investors Wednesday blasted Ukraine's investment climate, but were assured by the nation's government that it will improve soon.

"The investors feel that they are not a successful group of people, not successful in Ukraine at any rate,'' said Andrew Seton, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's office in Ukraine.

"There's a general feeling that executive government in Ukraine and the function of implementing policies and reforms is not functioning properly," Seton added, speaking at a meeting of the Foreign Investments Advisory Council in Kiev.

The council, which is represented by 23 top international corporations and banks, as well as by Ukrainian government leaders, including President Leonid Kuchma, was set up in 1997 to promote investment in the nation.

Seton cited such obstacles to investment as state interference in the private sector, excessive regulation and tax collection on the regional level that was "not consistent with [investors'] understanding of the tax regulations in Ukraine."

He also urged the former Soviet republic's government to speed up privatization of strategic industries, including energy distribution companies and the Ukrtelecom communications monopoly.

However, the investors said the meeting left them hopeful about positive changes after Kuchma promised them to pay attention to their recommendations and assist their work in Ukraine.

"The direct foreign investment in the first quarter of this year is up dramatically, like up to 70 percent compared to the same period of last year,'' said James Temerty, president of Canadian Northland Power company.

"The rest is up to you. I think the future looks pretty good," he said.