Yesterday, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Catherine Novelli met with Ukrainian Central Bank Governor Stepan Kubiv, Minister of Finance Oleksandr Shlapak, and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Pavlo Sheremeta to discuss a range of strategic and economic issues. Under Secretary Novelli and the Ukrainian delegation were joined by senior U.S. officials from the National Security Council, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA), the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The working group discussed ways of moving President Obama and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s economic agenda forward, focusing on U.S. assistance efforts, increasing bilateral trade and investment flows, combating corruption, and carrying out economic reforms. Under Secretary Novelli commended Ministers Kubiv, Sheremeta, and Shlapak for the reforms the Ukrainian Government and parliament had already begun, citing the Rada’s recent passage of the two anti-corruption measures, an information law, and a procurement law, all demonstrating to the international community Ukraine’s commitment to reform.
Under Secretary Novelli and Minister Sheremeta then discussed Ukraine’s IMF Program and the U.S. Government’s recently approved $1 billion loan guarantee program. In the context of these programs, both sides agreed to re-double efforts to get the Ukrainian economy on stable footing while implementing policies to establish the rule of law, transparency, and good procurement practices.
The two sides then reviewed ways in which the Ukrainian Government could improve Ukraine’s business environment in order to attract greater U.S. and global investment. Highlights of that discussion included the U.S. Department of Commerce’s efforts to organize a “Business Summit,” chaired by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, as well as OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield’s description of OPIC programs and projects to mitigate risk. Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency Leocadia Zak and Ex-Im Bank Chief Banking Officer and Senior Vice President of Export Finance Claudia Slacik also outlined an extensive set of tools and mechanisms within the U.S. Government that might help increase project financing and development, and accelerate private sector partnership creation.
Lastly, participants discussed trade issues, with Minister Sheremeta outlining Ukraine’s proposed one-way preferential access to the EU market starting May 1, and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Betsy Hafner proposing various ways in which Ukraine and the United States might cooperate more closely on trade.