On 19 May 2011, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a draft law on Permitting Documents in Commercial Activity (the “Permits Law”).

The draft Permits Law is accompanied by a schedule that sets out an exhaustive list of the permits and licences required for various types of commercial activity in Ukraine. The schedule sets out the name of the permit or licence, and the type of commercial activity for which the document is required. It also indicates which relevant law or code of Ukraine provides that a particular permit or licence is required. The entire list encompasses more than one hundred documents in total and covers various construction activities, land operations, advertisements, food production, waste product operations, transportation and many other areas of commercial activity.

The Permits Law is intended to increase transparency and certainty in this area by doing away with the need to undertake any further research into which mandatory permitting documentation is required in order to undertake certain commercial activities in Ukraine, and also by providing that if a document is not included in the list in relation to a particular commercial activity, there is no obligation on a business entity to possess that document.

However there are some exceptions: permits or licenses in the field of state exports control, financial services, protection of state secrets, protection of fair competition and use of nuclear energy are all exempt from the ambit of the Permits Law, as these are issued in accordance with specific Ukrainian laws which regulate such sectors.

The new draft Permits Law has yet to be signed into law by the Ukrainian President and is scheduled to become effective on 1 January 2012. If it comes into effect, it will be much easier to determine which permits are required for particular commercial activities in Ukraine. Another positive feature of the draft law is the protection of business entities from the unreasonable demands of the authorities in relation to permitting documents not prescribed for by Ukrainian laws.