U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Delivers Remarks at Ukraine Government Ethics, Transparency and Corporate Compliance Workshop

Sep282016

AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered remarks at the Commercial Law Development Program's (CLDP) Ukraine Government Ethics, Transparency, and Corporate Compliance Workshop in Kyiv. Secretary Pritzker traveled to Kyiv to meet with private sector leaders, Ukrainian officials, and Members of the Ukrainian Rada to discuss progress on the country’s economic reform agenda.

Speaking before an audience of 70 Ukrainian business leaders and government officials, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the U.S. government's commitment to reinforcing government ethics and transparency reforms, while tackling corruption in Ukraine. A division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, CLDP helps achieve U.S. foreign policy goals in developing and post-conflict countries through commercial and legal reforms.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good morning. While I am only in Ukraine for a very short time this week, I wanted to personally thank all of you for your participation in this important workshop. In providing technical assistance, our Commercial Law Development Program helps foster a better, more attractive business environment here in Ukraine.  

This week’s workshop is an opportunity for our team to work directly with you – our Ukrainian counterparts and local business leaders – on issues absolutely critical to strengthening the investment climate here: anti-corruption, government ethics, and transparency.

Three years ago on the Maidan, the people of Ukraine made the decision to move away from a past of corruption and state control of their economy in favor of a future of transparency, collective determination, and prosperity. Since that time, your country has taken steps to build a more open and more transparent business environment.

For example, starting this week, Ukraine will implement the Law on Justice, which promotes a system of rules to improve judicial ethics. This law will make the process of selecting judges more transparent, shoring up public trust in the judicial system.

At the same time, we recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Ukraine’s march to reform will be a long and difficult process. Even as your country pursues an ambitious economic reform agenda, the issues surrounding corruption – both real and perceived – continue to negatively impact Ukraine’s potential for trade and investment.

U.S. companies continue to face impediments to growing or even sustaining their operations here. They list anti-corruption efforts and judicial reform as key to creating an environment where their companies can survive and thrive. While President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Groysman have made it clear that they are unequivocally committed to reform, I know that the hard work of actually implementing these reforms falls to many of you in this room. 

The United States wants to help your country achieve its ambitions of closer ties with Europe. Our goal within the U.S. government is to support your efforts—which is why, over the last two years, CLDP has organized 23 workshops focused on making Ukrainian government systems and processes fairer, more transparent, and more efficient.

In close coordination with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CLDP has also helped the Ukraine State Fiscal Service apply trade facilitation measures that enable more efficient cross-border trade. 

In addition, the Commerce Department is partnering with the business community in Ukraine – including a number of local chambers of commerce and trade associations – on workshops that address the private sector’s role in tackling corruption. Together, we will move closer towards our shared goal of a brighter, more prosperous future for Ukraine.

Right now, you have an enormous opportunity to reform your country’s legal and regulatory environment. 

The world is watching. Let’s not forget that, if you do not follow through on your ambitions, the businesses you hope will invest here will start to look elsewhere. Now is the time to develop a sustainable, efficient, and smart legal environment that supports business development, encourages investment, and results in economic growth.

The U.S. government and the American business community stand ready to be your partners in this effort, as you move towards an equitable, transparent, and flourishing marketplace that is driven by the private sector. Thank you.

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