Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman issued the following statement regarding discussions on September 28 in Kyiv to accelerate economic reform, build a better business climate for all companies and increase U.S.-Ukrainian bilateral trade and investment.
“In the spirit of the close partnership between our two countries, we continued our fruitful dialogue on Ukraine’s economic reform efforts and on the important role of the U.S. private sector to increase business ties with Ukraine. Both sides noted with satisfaction the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent approval of the latest review and disbursement of $1 billion and finalization of the third U.S. government loan guarantee of an additional $1 billion. This new support builds upon two previous $1 billion U.S. government loan guarantees and more than $1.3 billion in additional foreign assistance that the U.S. government has committed to Ukraine since 2014 to advance reforms, strengthen democratic institutions and civil society, stimulate economic growth, and help Ukraine more safely monitor and secure its borders and preserve its territorial integrity.
Despite continued Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine and the illegal occupation of Crimea, the reform process continues. In the last year, Ukraine has loosened capital controls in order to facilitate further investment; reduced gas royalty rates to spur the energy sector; finalized a platform for electronic asset declaration to reduce conflicts of interest; implemented a world-class electronic procurement system; made progress on corporate governance reforms in state-owned enterprises; and acceded to the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement. Continued progress on the IMF program, anti-corruption efforts, and deeper and accelerated economic reforms will be critical to attract long-term foreign direct investment to Ukraine.
In meetings with President Poroshenko, the Government and the Verkhovna Rada, all participants confirmed their strong commitment to work together to further advance economic reform. As part of the Obama Administration’s strong support for an independent, democratic and prosperous Ukraine, the United States will remain a full and committed partner in this effort. Foreign direct investment will be increasingly important to Ukraine’s long-term economic growth. In this regard, both sides were pleased that five CEOs from the U.S. aerospace and defense, agricultural, banking, energy and transportation sectors joined our meetings to provide private sector views on how Ukraine can attract and retain private capital. During a meeting hosted by President Poroshenko and an Executive Business Roundtable hosted by Prime Minister Groysman and members of his economic team, executives from Cargill, Citi, General Electric Transportation, Lockheed Martin and Westinghouse offered recommendations on measures to improve the business climate and attract more foreign direct investment to Ukraine. The U.S. Executive Business Roundtable was organized by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine and demonstrated the continuation of a strong public-private partnership. In meetings with key Rada deputies, both sides exchanged views on the importance of the rule of law and a robust legislative base that fosters entrepreneurship and economic growth. Deeper and accelerated economic reform will ensure Ukraine's success as a modern European state with a flourishing, private sector-led economy that can generate jobs and greater prosperity for all of Ukraine’s citizens.
During our consultations, both sides discussed progress on a ‘Roadmap’ featuring several short-term, actionable steps that will further increase business confidence. The U.S. and Ukrainian sides underscored the urgency of such measures and the importance of continued consultation among the U.S. business community, Ukrainian government officials and the Rada. Both sides agreed on the importance of quickening momentum on reforms, to ensure a smooth transition of work areas with the incoming U.S. Administration.
With the continued support of the United States, Ukraine will intensify anti-corruption efforts through reforms in the Prosecutor General’s Office and implementation of judicial reform; improve tax and customs administration to provide predictability in business operations; conclude the privatization of the Odessa Portside Plant and energy companies in accordance with international practices; accelerate deregulation to eliminate unnecessary licensing and permitting; and pursue corporate governance reform of state-owned companies. Ukraine also underscored its commitment to move forward on agricultural policies that will attract investment, to approve and implement anti-piracy legislation to protect intellectual property rights and to improve the effectiveness and transparency of its IPR system.
The Department of Commerce continues to work with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade on business-climate improvements to ensure that the U.S. business community is fully informed of Ukraine’s progress in implementing these critical reform priorities. The Department’s Commercial Law Development Program continues to provide expert advice on trade facilitation, WTO implementation and anti-corruption measures. On September 27-29, CLDP hosted its 23rd program with Ukraine in the last two years, bringing Ukrainian agencies and private sector organizations together for a successful seminar on anti-corruption strategies. In 2016-7, the Department’s Commercial Service office in the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv will organize nine private sector delegations to major trade shows in the United States, focusing on the energy, environmental technology, safety and security, and agricultural sectors. The Department of Commerce will also continue to provide Ukraine with technical assistance on intellectual property rights protection, customs reform, judicial capacity building, government procurement and trade facilitation.
At the conclusion of our September 28 discussions, both sides agreed that while much work remains, Ukraine is continuing on a reform path that will further integrate the country into the global economy, and create the broad-based economic growth that the Ukrainian people deserve.”