Ukraine’s President woos foreign investors in tobacco industry

President Volodymyr Zelensky assured representatives of the tobacco industry at a meeting yesterday that he was interested in investment, business climate improvement and exports of tobacco products. The meeting was attended by several ministers and the heads of the tax service and the antimonopoly authority, the head of the European Business Association, and representatives of British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, JTI and Imperial Tobacco.

After the meeting, the local branch of British American Tobacco announced restarting production at its factory in Priluki from today. The company said it accepted guarantees from Zelensky, in spite of legal uncertainty. Production at Priluki was stopped last month, in response to the adoption by parliament of higher taxes for the tobacco industry. Also last month, Philip Morris, JTI and Imperial Tobacco said they considered cutting production and closing their factories in Ukraine. They warned that illegal trade in tobacco products would increase as a result. Their departure would have damaged both the investment climate and state finances, as foreign-owned tobacco producers have been among the main taxpayers for years.

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