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This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.
Post by Bruce H. Andrews Deputy Secretary of Commerce
This week, I had the opportunity to participate in the first ever U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum, co-hosted by the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At the forum, Vice President Biden, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, U.S. business leaders, other government officials, and I met to discuss the future of American business in Ukraine and an improved economic partnership.
To kick off the forum, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the important steps the Ukrainian government has made in the past year toward increased economic stability. Among other changes made as part of their economic reform agenda, we applaud Ukraine’s commitment to developing their energy sector, and streamlined electronic systems for new and current businesses. Additionally, the Obama Administration has pledged its support and provided $2 billion in loan guarantees to Ukrainian households, and almost $16 million to economic stabilization programs.
Ukraine has made significant strides over the past year. Forums like this one provided an important platform to jumpstart the conversation between business leaders and government officials, and help set the groundwork for even more progress.
At the forum, American business leaders gave critical input to Ukrainian government officials about the conditions they believe are necessary to improve the investment climate in Ukraine. For example, I heard them present multiple recommendations to Ukrainian government leaders about the need to be more transparent and efficient if they want to attract more foreign investment. Several roundtable discussions held over the course of the day highlighted areas that could benefit from transparency, including agribusiness, energy development, and intellectual property protection. Many U.S. companies see the benefits of investing in a country like Ukraine, but they would like to make sure the government continues to work toward a stronger economy and a stronger investment climate.
The Department of Commerce plays a key role in navigating these global markets. For example, our Foreign Commercial Service offices around the world facilitate engagement and dialogue between the U.S. private sector and foreign governments, including Ukraine. These offices are critical to shaping the best market possible for U.S. businesses.
At the event, Secretary Pritzker announced that she will travel to Kyiv again in October. This upcoming trip shows the Commerce Department’s commitment to maintaining open dialogue between the U.S. and Ukraine. By working together, we can support a strong, prosperous Ukraine, and foster a transparent and efficient economic partnership that our businesses can thrive in.