Victor Yushchenko has held a round table with Ukraine’s business leaders to involve them in implementing his policies and address the country’s most pressing social and economic problems, according to the President`s press-office.

      In his speech, the President said the key challenge for the national economy was to build cooperation between government and business.

      They spoke about tax changes, VAT rebates, WTO issues, especially how to prevent business raids, create a stock market and boost competition.

      Mr. Yushchenko complained that the VAT issue "has not been resolved yet."

      “There is no order in this area. This problem triggers corruption in relations between government and business,” he said, adding that the growing VAT debt posed a threat to the country.

      The President suggested developing mechanisms to resolve the problem by December 15. He also urged the businessmen to help tackle the issue of free economic zones.

      “We should admit that the nation needs these priorities but, on the other hand, we must not repeat our mistakes,” he said.

      Mr. Yushchenko said it was important to hold a “global discussion on the fundamentals of creating a competitive business environment.”

      “There is no competitive environment for national manufacturers, which leads to economic loss,” he said.

      He also called on those present to help Ukraine join the World Trade Organization.

      The President said big business played a pivotal role in the implementation of “landmark projects,” such as the Hetman Capital, Khortytsya and the Art Arsenal Museum Complex.

      “Your charitable aid helps implement the projects to renew historical heritage,” he said.

      Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha, NSDCU Secretary Vitaly Haiduk, NBU Chairman Volodymyr Stelmakh, Finance Minister Mykola Azarov, Economy Minister Volodymyr Makukha, Volodymyr Boiko/Illich Mill, Vyacheslav Bohuslayev/Motor Sich, Tariel Vasadze/UkrAvto, Ihor Kolomoysky/Privat Group, Victor Pinchuk/Interpipe, and Oleksiy Poroshenko/Ukrprominvest attended the meeting.