Indeed, we have seen FDI flows of $12 billion during 2015–2018 resulting in the construction of over 80 plants representing tens of thousands of new high-added-value jobs. As a result, we see that Ukraine has turned the corner as an attractive investment destination.
The Government has also eliminated many administrative barriers, has reduced the frequency and duration of inspections, has expanded rights of businesses, and has introduced an electronic system for VAT refunds that contributes greatly to facilitating doing business in Ukraine. As a result, according to the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, in 2017, Ukraine improved its"Policy transparency" ranking by 34 positions. Lately, our country has introduced 35 e-services for citizens and business in the fields of economy, healthcare, education, and social security. We proceed along the road of business environment deregulation by removing excessive and inefficient state regulations and by abolishing unnecessary barriers and outdated procedures.
The DCFTA signed with the European Union and ratified by both Parliaments is already having an enormous impact on Ukrainian industry, lifting tariff and non-tariff barriers for Ukrainian exports, most notably in the agricultural and manufacturing industries, where Ukraine enjoys important competitive and cost advantages. Implementation of the first step, the one-way free trade zone with the EU, encouraged Ukrainian businesses to expand exports to the region. Future growth potential is great as per capita Ukraine exports remain low at $1,540 per year versus $4,956 in Poland and $6,605 for the sixteen CEE countries.
Currently, the EU continues to apply its preferential trade regime for Ukrainian goods: for example, 83% of agricultural goods are imported duty-free to the EU. It is anticipated that exports will increase further given the large 500 million consumers EU market and the fact that major destinations in Europe may be reached within two truck days.