Posted at 6:13 PM
Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that the Obama Administration intends to work with Congress to move forward with a third, $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine. Over the past 18 months, Ukraine has made progress with its ambitious reform agenda and the U.S. remains dedicated to working with international partners to ensure Ukraine has the support needed to continue these efforts. This loan guarantee fulfills a U.S. commitment to consider providing a third, $1 billion loan guarantee in late 2015 if conditions warrant.
Secretary Pritzker’s visit continues the high-level engagement with Ukraine launched during her first visit to Kyiv in September 2014, and follows the first-ever U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum held in July 2015 in Washington D.C. The Obama Administration has consistently supported a vibrant Ukrainian economy that is led by the private sector. A strong Ukrainian economy that can withstand Russia’s brazen attempt to undermine the stability of a sovereign nation is critical to the entire continent.
As America’s chief commercial diplomat, Secretary Pritzker has actively involved the U.S. private sector as commercial diplomats to advise on how Ukraine can create a competitive business climate. On this visit, Secretary Pritzker is accompanied by senior U.S. business leaders who have met with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to talk specifically about what Ukraine can do to attract increased trade and investment.
Secretary Pritzker delivered the following remarks today at a press conference with President Poroshenko, during which she announced the $1 billion loan guarantee.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you for the warm introduction, Mr. President. It is a pleasure to be back in Kyiv. I am honored to be with you today.
In September 2014, at President Obama’s request, I traveled here to discuss how the United States can support Ukraine’s ambitious economic reform agenda and how this country can create a level playing field for all businesses. Those discussions helped pave the way for our deepening economic cooperation and the passage of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau through the Rada less than two weeks later – a powerful and positive signal to outside investors and the United States.
Since that time, under your leadership, Mr. President, your country has continued to make progress to improve the business climate, strengthen governance and competition, tackle corruption, repair the financial sector, and eliminate poorly targeted energy subsidies while protecting the most vulnerable members of society. But we all know there is far more to do – and we are here to discuss how the American government and private sector can continue to be your partner on the road to economic reform.
In our meetings today, with the President, with members of Ukraine’s government, and with senior U.S. executives we will focus on essential steps needed to make additional concrete progress to curb corruption; improve tax administration; strengthen intellectual property rights protection; deepen gas sector reform; and support the rule of law.
And, we, the United States, our allies, and international financial institutions, stand ready to support your efforts to improve the investment climate, integrate Ukraine into the global economy, and put this nation on a path to self-sustaining growth.
As part of this support, I am pleased to announce that the President, working with Congress, intends to move forward with a third, $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine in the coming months. This fulfills a U.S. commitment to consider providing a third $1 billion loan guarantee in late 2015 if conditions warrant.
Today, I have had the opportunity to discuss with President Poroshenko how the United States and Ukraine can use a third $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee to support continued progress in advancing reforms- including reforms that will be important to unlock international investment in Ukraine, and lay the groundwork for a return to growth. I will have similar discussions with and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk this afternoon.
Mr. President: sweeping economic reform is never easy, under the best of circumstances, not to mention when you also bear responsibility for so many challenges – from managing the conflict in the east and relations with Russia to strengthening the judiciary and law enforcement. In America’s government and business community, we fully appreciate the difficulty of this task. We applaud your efforts thus far.
And you can rest assured that the United States stands with you and all Ukrainians today, tomorrow, and for the long term.