18 May 2023 13:15

Swiss insurer SERV may begin working with Ukraine in 2024

MOSCOW. May 18 (Interfax) - Swiss insurer Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) may start to work with Ukraine to insure exporters' risks in 2024, Herve Lohr, Deputy Head for Bilateral Economic Relations at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, said in an interview with Ukrainian media.

A more precise date for starting such work will depend on the adoption of necessary decisions at the national level, Lohr said in the interview given on the sidelines of a recent Ukrainian-Swiss business forum in Lugano.

The Federal Council of Switzerland in April asked the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs to explore the possibility for Switzerland to take part in Ukraine's recovery along with the European Union, to examine the legal basis for it, financial consequences and terms, Lohr said at the forum. Among other measures, it is about the possibility of Swiss private sector's active involvement in such a reconstruction process, he said.

Such measures are being discussed, and they will heed all changing circumstances, Lohr said. The first important decision should be made by the Federal Council in June of this year before it is submitted to the parliament for approval in winter. It means that these measures could start to be implemented in spring 2024.

Before these decisions are adopted, Switzerland is continuing to actively support Ukraine, Lohr said. In particular, its financial support stood at 270 million Swiss francs last year, as compared to the usual amount of 25 million Swiss francs per year.

In the short term, Switzerland will continue to provide financial assistance and project financing to facilitate the procurement of Swiss goods and services in sectors that are most critical to Ukraine now, Lohr said. As an example, he referred to a grant of 14 million Swiss francs that helped fund the procurement of fixtures and other rail equipment for the Ukrainian Railways company. However, the focus is on the energy sector, transport, mobility and healthcare, he added.

Switzerland stands ready in the short term to finance the preparation of projects and their initial stages such as a feasibility study and environment impact evaluation, whereas such projects themselves, involving Swiss companies, will be implemented later.

According to the information available on the SERV website, the agency sees the possibility of non-payment in the event of transactions with Ukraine as very high, which is why it is ready to consider only projects with exceptional credit ratings and guaranteed methods of payment.

International cooperation, including with the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the World Bank Group, is crucial to insuring risks of businesses in Ukraine, Lohr said. A major Swiss company is already in touch with MIGA regarding a project to increase its production capacities, he said.