Business news from Ukraine

PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE FEELS NO PRESSURE FROM UNITED STATES ON ECONOMIC INTERACTION WITH CHINA

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he does not feel pressure from the United States on the economic interaction between Ukraine and China.
“I’m not saying that there are no signals from the United States regarding the relations of any countries in Europe with China. I’m not saying that there is no such thing, but we are a fairly independent country that chooses business partners for itself. If business is transparent and open and it creates additional jobs for Ukraine, this is a priority,” Zelensky said at the Yalta European Strategy Forum in the YES Brainstorming 2021 format in Kyiv on Friday.

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UKRAINE EXPECTS TO START FREE TRADE NEGOTIATIONS WITH UNITED STATES

Ukraine expects to start free trade negotiations with the United States during the visit of President Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States, First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy Oleksiy Liubchenko has said.
“During the president’s visit to the United States, we want to reach an agreement to start free trade negotiations with the United States,” Liubchenko said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
In addition, Ukraine has carried out preliminary work to expand the free trade area (FTA) with Canada.
“I hope this year we will complete negotiations on expanding the FTA to include services and mutual protection of investments,” the first deputy prime minister said.
He added that Canada is interested in this, since it has great investment potential, concentrated in private pension funds.

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UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES TO INCREASE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO UKRAINE

The United States House of Representatives has voted to increase the amount of financial assistance to Ukraine. American parliamentarians also supported amendments to the sanctions against Nord Stream 2, the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States said on Facebook.
“According to the bill, the total amount of funds to be allocated for the implementation of assistance programs to Ukraine through the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development and related programs is at least $481.5 million, which is $28.5 million more than this year,” the report says.
Of this estimate, $125 million will be allocated as assistance to Ukraine for security-related purposes, under the article “International military financing,” which is $10 million more than in 2021.
To enter into force, the bill must be agreed and approved by the U.S. Senate and signed by U.S. President Joe Biden.

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UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR SINGS LEASE AGREEMENT FOR CONSULATE IN TEXAS

Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova signed an agreement on the lease of the premises, which will house the new consulate of Ukraine in the state of Texas, according to the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States.
“Today we took another important step towards the opening of the Consulate General of Ukraine in Houston, Texas. Ambassador Oksana Markarova signed a lease agreement for the premises where the new foreign diplomatic institution of Ukraine in the United States will officially be located,” the message on the Facebook social network says.
“We are very pleased with the opportunity to increase and develop the Ukrainian presence in the American regions. South America has a large and active Ukrainian society, as well as great potential for the development of new strategic directions of the Ukrainian-American partnership,” the embassy said.

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UNITED STATES TO COOPERATE WITH UKRAINE ACROSS FULL RANGE OF INTERESTS

The United States will continue to work with Ukraine on a wide range of common interests, U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien has said.
“As President Biden’s administration has affirmed, the United States remains committed to Ukraine as one of our closest partners and friends, and we continue to work together across the full range of our extensive mutual interest,” Kvien said in a video statement at Kyiv Security Forum hosted by Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Open Ukraine Foundation on Wednesday.
According to U.S. Charge d’Affaires, today it can be recognized that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has faced challenges on the way to resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine and fighting corruption, which causes “a significant obstacle to inclusive economic growth and Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.”
“On fight against corruption, we have witnessed persistent attacks by vested interests who seek to undermine the independence and effectiveness of Ukraine’s anticorruption infrastructure, and an effort to avoid accountability for their corrupt behavior,” the diplomat said.
Kvien commended the Verkhovna Rada’s adoption in the first reading of the reform of the Security Service of Ukraine, as well as Zelensky’s commitment to conduct a comprehensive judicial reform, which is a very necessary step to reduce corruption in Ukraine.
She said the main directions of the U.S. policy towards Ukraine have broad bipartisan support in Washington. “United States should, in coordination with international financial institutions, EU and G7 continue to provide assistance to help Ukraine build modern democratic economy that is fully compatible with EU standards and norms. That assistance should be linked to effective reform measures,” the U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine said.
She recalled that since 2014, the United States has provided assistance to Ukraine totaling $4.5 billion and pledged that the United States will continue to provide this assistance to advance reforms and strengthen security.
Kvien said the new U.S. leadership is actively supporting Ukraine, as discussed by U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. She also said that recently it was announced that Ihor Kolomoisky was included in the sanctions list.

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EXPERTS PRESENT 12 POINTS TO STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN UNITED STATES AND UKRAINE

At Kyiv Security Forum, organized by Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Open Ukraine Foundation on Wednesday, some 12 points were presented to strengthen the strategic partnership between the United States and Ukraine.
According to the document, titled “12 Points of Strategic Partnership Between the United States and Ukraine,” the arrival of President of the United States Joseph Biden and the new U.S. Administration offers an opportunity to deepen the strategic partnership and commitment between the United States and Ukraine, as well as advance the interests of both states.
“We, American and Ukrainian politicians and diplomats, former officials, experts and public figures, urge the governments of both countries to develop an ambitious and comprehensive agenda that will deepen our strategic relationship. This agenda should promote mutual interests, contribute to strengthening security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, promote Ukraine’s further integration into the EU and NATO membership, and outline and prioritize transformative democratic reforms necessary for the full development of Ukraine’s economy and its transatlantic movement progress,” according to a statement.
The officials said in the document that mutual dedication to strengthening democratic values must always remain at the core of the U.S. and Ukrainian relations.
“This implies strengthening democracy and the rule of law, individual freedom, freedom of speech, full independence of the judiciary and anti-corruption institutions, greater transparency and accountability of government actions and open governance, independence of the media and an active civil society. Solidarity and concrete actions to promote these values are needed to strengthening mutual trust, understanding the democratic aspirations of Ukrainians and providing a common basis for cooperation between both countries,” the experts said.
They said the United States and Ukraine must act together to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and contain further Russian aggression.
“This implies expanding our strategic partnership and defense cooperation and the United States seeking new opportunities to increase defense assistance in order to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to deter Russia’s offensive. This means continuing to provide lethal defense assistance and strengthening the Navy. Other areas of possible military cooperation include the development of special operations forces, anti-aircraft and coastal defense,” the officials said in the document.
Its signatories believe that the United States and Ukraine must maintain close dialogue in order to increase the Kremlin’s cost of continued Russian aggression against Ukraine. The United States should also consult closely with Europe on this issue, in particular on strengthening sanctions.
They believe that such negotiations, as well as negotiations with Russia on Ukraine, should be based on the principle “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.”
“In consultations with Ukraine and its European partners, the Joseph Biden Administration should explore the possibilities of more active involvement at the highest level by the United States in the negotiation process, which is now being conducted by the German Chancellor and the French President, in order to break the situation and contribute to a real end to the conflict in Donbas , the withdrawal of all Russian and Russian-controlled forces and the restoration of Ukraine’s full sovereignty over Donbas,” the experts said in the document.
The experts also said the United States and Ukraine should also consult on the political, diplomatic and economic steps necessary to bring Crimea back to Ukraine.
“They must work together to ensure international compliance with the principle ‘Crimea is Ukraine’ and maintain the sanctions adopted against Russia for the illegal seizure of the peninsula. We welcome the efforts of the Ukrainian government to create the Crimean Platform as an initiative that will keep the issue of occupied Crimea on the international agenda of the day and remind people, including Russia, that Crimea remains Ukrainian in the eyes of the international community,” according to the document.
In addition, the signatories to the document believe that the United States and Ukraine should consult on steps to strengthen security and stability in the Black Sea region, in particular with the support of NATO and European partners.
“The United States, together with NATO allies, should continue to regularly deploy air, land and sea forces in the region where Russia, Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus converge,” the experts said.
It also noted that in recent years, the United States and Ukraine have become targets of Russian political intervention, disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks.
“They should exchange their experience and share best practices in combating these and other forms of Russian hybrid warfare,” according to the recommendations.
It is stressed that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, if completed, would threaten Euro-Atlantic unity and deprive Ukraine of significant transit revenues.
“The United States and Ukraine should consult on how to build and maintain a transatlantic position against the completion of the pipeline, as well as actions that Russia can take against Ukraine to lift the Nord Stream 2 sanctions. At the same time, Ukraine should undertake major reforms to improve energy efficiency and root out corruption in this and other sectors,” the experts said in the statement.
The experts said the United States and Ukraine must work together to advance Ukraine’s NATO integration and Kyiv’s ultimate goal of NATO membership.
“The United States must firmly adhere to NATO’s open door policy and advise Kyiv on how best to prepare for membership, as NATO leaders pledged at the Bucharest summit in 2008. Ukraine must commit to the necessary reforms and practical steps that will lead to its military and other security and defense structures are in line with NATO standards and norms,” according to the document.
It is noted that Ukraine’s membership in NATO will strengthen the North Atlantic Alliance, contribute to the historical unification of Europe and create the preconditions for the transformation of relations with Russia.
Moreover, the renewed U.S.-Ukrainian partnership is associated with the willingness of the Ukrainian authorities to quickly implement transformational democratic reforms and actively act to protect and strengthen the independence of such key institutions as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and others.
“For a strong anti-corruption work, effective reforms of the prosecutor’s office and the judicial system are necessary. Ukraine must also make irreversible the significant reforms already achieved, in particular in the areas of the land market, privatization of state-owned enterprises, the independence of the National Bank of Ukraine, decentralization, transparency of fiscal and budgetary policies in addition to reforms in the gas sector, reforms in the public procurement system and on the transparency of assets and incomes of civil servants and parliamentarians,” the experts said in the document.
In addition, important are steps to remove the excessive influence of oligarchs, establish the rule of law with fair economic norms and practices for large, medium, small and foreign businesses, as well as to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ukrainian state – all this is crucial for improving the lives of Ukrainian citizens, the experts said.
They said Ukraine should ensure the protection of property rights for all Ukrainian and foreign investors.
“While the Ukrainian authorities should urgently focus on reform, seeing them as urgent tasks, the United States, in coordination with international financial institutions, the European Union and partners from the Group of Seven (G7), should continue to provide support helping Ukraine build a modern democratic an economy fully compatible with the standards and norms of the European Union. In this sense, Copenhagen criteria of the EU form a clear roadmap. Such assistance should directly depend on the implementation of effective reforms,” according to the document.
Among the American signers are Francis Fukuyama; former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Alexander Vershbow; former Ambassadors of the United States to Ukraine John Herbst, Marie Yovanovitch, Steven Pifer, Roman Popadiuk, William Taylor, as well as members of the United States Congress, high-ranked diplomats and well-known experts.
Among the Ukrainian signers are Chairman of the Kyiv Security Forum and Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2014-2016 Arseniy Yatsenyuk; Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olena Kondratiuk; Co-chair of Lviv Security Forum and former Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2014-2019 Oksana Syroid; former Secretaries of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Volodymyr Horbulin, Oleksandr Turchunov and Andriy Parubiy; Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee on Ukraine’s Integration into the European Union Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze; public figures Josef Zissels and Myroslav Marynovych; diplomats Volodymyr Ohryzko, Danylo Lubkivsky, Valeriy Chaly, Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Volodymyr Vasylenko, Yuri Scherbak, Oleh Shamshur, Oleksandr Motsyk, Volodymyr Handogiy, Roman Bezsmertnyi, as well as members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the Servants of the People, European Solidarity, Holos and Batkivschyna factions.

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