Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk issued the following statement regarding discussions on October 26 in Kyiv to accelerate economic reform 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 ambitious economic reform efforts and the important role of the American private sector to increase business ties with Ukraine. Both sides noted with satisfaction the U.S. announcement of the Obama Administration’s intention to work with Congress to move forward with a third $1 billion loan guarantee designed to support progress on Ukraine’s anti-corruption and the economic reform agenda. This new support builds upon two previous $1 billion U.S. loan guarantees and nearly $570 million in U.S. security, technical, and programmatic assistance provided since February 2014. Both sides affirmed that meeting all of Ukraine’s commitments in its International Monetary Fund program is essential to both near-term economic recovery and long-term growth.
Despite Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine and the occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, the IMF-supported reform process continues. In the last year, Ukraine has doubled its foreign currency reserves to more than $12 billion and signs of economic stabilization are emerging. Ukraine has also taken active steps to create a Business Ombudsman, pursued deregulation through a decrease in licensing and permitting and has launched an electronic VAT reimbursement system to improve tax administration. The Ukrainian side, including the President, the Parliament and the Government, confirmed its strong commitment to continued economic reform.
The United States will remain a full and committed partner in this effort. Recognizing the importance of private investment to Ukraine’s long-term prosperity, we were pleased that six high-level executives from the U.S. financial, technology, agricultural, and energy sectors joined our meetings to provide private sector views as to how Ukraine can retain and attract American private sector capital. During a meeting hosted by President Petro Poroshenko and an Executive Business Roundtable hosted by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and his economic cabinet, the leaders of Cargill, Citibank, Dupont, Honeywell, NCH, and Westinghouse expressed their views on broad, overall reform measures that can further improve the business climate and attract more foreign direct investment to Ukraine. The U.S. Executive Business Roundtable was organized by the Government of Ukraine and demonstrated the importance of a strong public-private partnership in support of Ukraine’s courageous and essential economic reform efforts. Deeper and accelerated economic reform will ensure Ukraine’s success as a modern European state with a flourishing economy led by the private sector.
As a result of our consultations, both sides developed a roadmap featuring several short-term, actionable steps that will further increase business confidence and attract private capital. Both sides underscored the urgency of such steps and the importance of actions by both Ukrainian government officials and the Rada to deepen said reforms. With the 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 administration to ensure a level playing field for all companies; reduce gas royalty rates to encourage investment by world class firms; continue deregulation and eliminate unnecessary licensing and permitting; approve and implement anti-piracy legislation to support intellectual property rights; fully execute an e-procurement system and complete accession to the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement. Ukraine also underscored its commitment to move forward on agricultural standards that will attract investment; development and implementation of a thoughtful and transparent privatization plan that provides genuine opportunities for international investors; and civil service reform.
The Department of Commerce continues to work with the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the U.S. business community is fully informed of Ukraine’s progress in implementing these critical reform priorities. We built on the success of the July 2015 U.S. – Ukraine Business Forum in Washington, a joint effort of the Department and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which attracted more than 150 leading U.S. and Ukrainian private and public sector officials. Through conferences, webinars, seminars, and other fora with leading U.S. executives, the Department of Commerce will continue to strengthen U.S. – Ukrainian business ties. The Department of Commerce will also continue to provide Ukraine with technical assistance on intellectual property rights protection, government procurement and trade facilitation.
At the conclusion of our October 26 consultations, both sides agreed that while much work remains, Ukraine is pressing forward on reforms that will help it modernize, integrate more fully with the global economy, and create the broad based prosperity the Ukrainian people want and deserve.”