Oleg Bakhmatyuk, the owner of Ukrlandfarming, one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural conglomerates, speaks about a window of opportunity for raising billions worth of investments opening up for Ukraine as the world’s largest economic bloc emerges in Asia, as reported by Ukrainian News.  

The businessman shared his thoughts in an interview to Channel 112’s Dmytro Spivak. According to him, the news of the creation of the so called RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) went almost unnoticed by Ukrainian media, while the creation of the free economic zone by 15 Asian countries announced on 15 November 2020 in Hanoi opens up a window of opportunity for raising billions in investment for Ukraine.

“What is the meaning of this economic bloc (notably, it was created after the US presidential election had been held but before the winner was called)? A huge economic and political powerhouse has emerged in the world. It has a population of some 2.2 billion people, it accounts for nearly 30% of the world economy, and most importantly this particular region is among the least affected by the pandemic globally, this a region named the only driver of global GDP growth”, indicates Oleg Bakhmatyuk.  

“The emergence of this conglomerate does pose a certain threat to our products, because it is bound to grant preferences to its member countries. But there’s another side to it that needs to be taken into account: it is also a partnership of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. China brings 3.7 trillion dollars to the table, Japan – 700 billion, Singapore – 750, South Korea – 600.  All those sovereign wealth funds, aka national stability funds, jointly manage some 10 trillion dollars. Given that the pandemic has triggered new money issuance to keep the economy going, huge resources have been injected into the global financial system. This is bound to drive the value of those sovereign wealth funds down, says Bakhmatyuk. There’s one more side to it: if you look at the composition of Ukrainian exports, we are turning into an exporter of iron ore (mainly to China), maize, wheat and sunflower oil. We are turning into a mere supplier of raw materials; raw materials are likely to account for up to 80% of GDP in the next two years. And the sovereign wealth funds, and I know this first-hand from their managers, are increasingly looking at investing in territories that will generate a flow of raw materials to meet their home demand. We fit this trend perfectly”. 

The businessman estimates Ukraine’s export potential in those markets at USD 5-10 billion per year. “We could use this commodity flow to easily raise 20-30 billion dollars, maybe 50, to be invested in government securities. The only thing that needs to be guaranteed is security of supply, even the price doesn’t matter as much.  But Ukraine has no agents representing it on those markets. You cannot enter before you open the door. Ukraine doesn’t have a team to conduct political and economic negotiations. But a window of opportunity is open for Ukraine now and the situation is favourable for us’, says Bakhmatyuk.  

He also indicated that similar opportunities could be leveraged by Ukraine in the markets of the Middle East, in particular in Saudi Arabia, where negotiations could also be pursued to raise financing in exchange for agricultural products from Ukraine. Bakhmatyuk volunteers himself to broker those deals on Ukraine’s behalf.  “I’ll be sorry if Ukraine misses this opportunity. This would be a win for each and every Ukrainian’, concludes the businessman.