Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council


U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), Washington, D.C., Wed, June 3, 2009

By William B. Taylor, Amb Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the U.S.A. to Ukraine
Dzerkalo Tyzhyna (Mirror Weekly) No 18 (746), in Ukrainian & Russian
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 23 to May 29, 2009
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), in English
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, June 3, 2009

U.S. Embassy, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 22, 2009

U.S. Embassy, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 21, 2009 


U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), Wash, D.C., Wed, June 3, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The over 100 members of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) wish to express our deepest appreciation and thanks to U.S. Ambassador William Taylor for his outstanding work in representing the United States of America, her values, her government, her people and her businesses in Ukraine over the past three years.

Ambassador Taylor has been a great friend and supporter of the members of the U.S. private business community who have invested and are working in Ukraine. The Ambassador has been on the cutting edge in promoting economic and business reforms that would bring about an improved and expanded private business environment in Ukraine. 

The Ambassadorhas always been willing to meet with representatives of  U.S business.  He has met with the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) on numerous occasions in Kyiv and in Washington over the past three years.The members of USUBC are proud to have had the opportunity to work closely with Ambassador Taylor. 

His tireless work toresolve the issue that has caused the U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to be closed for Ukraine over the past few years has been successful in moving the process towards a successful closure which is expected in the next few weeks.  All of us now expect OPIC to be open for business in Ukraine very soon. 

The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) again express our thanks Ambassador Taylor. The members of USUBC wish the Ambassador and his wife, Deborah, at they return to the Washington, D.C. area, the best in the years ahead.  We know they will stay very active in working for the advancement of Ukraine as an independent, democratic and prosperous country and for the continuation of close U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations and a strong strategic partnership.
By William Taylor, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the U.S.A. to Ukraine
Dzerkalo Tyzhyna (Mirror Weekly) No 18 (746), in Ukrainian & Russian
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 23 to May 29, 2009
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), in English
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It has been nearly three years since my arrival in Kyiv in June 2006.  I depart today with mixed emotions: sadness that this incredible and rewarding experience has come to an end, disappointment that more wasn’t accomplished, but optimism about the future of Ukraine.
I am optimistic because during the past three years I have had a chance to travel extensively around the country and have seen firsthand the great potential of Ukraine –the highly literate population, its young people, its agricultural and industrial potential.   I have met with Ukrainians from all walks of life: students, teachers, lawyers, judges, miners, soldiers, journalists, government officials, non-governmental organization representatives to name just a few. 
I can make a few parting observations based on my discussions with Ukrainians:
[1] The first is the state of U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations. U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations are solid.  Just one month ago, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg visited Kyiv and met with the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker, leaders from Ukraine’s private sector and representatives of non-governmental organizations.  The purpose of this high-level visit was to underscore the importance President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton place on U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations. 

The Deputy Secretary made it clear that the U.S. will continue its support of Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, democracy, and the strategic partnership between our two nations.  We will continue to support Ukraine’s integration into European institutions and Ukraine’s aspirations to join the Atlantic Alliance, assuming Ukraine decides to pursue this step.
Ukraine is an important partner to the United States.  President Obama visited Ukraine as a senator and recognizes the importance of this country. Over the last 18 years, the United States has invested time, energy and financial means to help Ukraine develop into a strong democracy.  This relationship will continue to grow, as the new administration builds on existing projects and partnerships and explores new areas for cooperation raised by our common interests and values. 

At the same time, Ukrainians must unite to develop a healthy economy and democracy.  Ukraine is facing difficult times politically and economically.  Tough decisions cannot wait for presidential elections.
Ukraine is a real democracy, setting the standard for other countries in the region.  It has seen tough times during the last few years, but the successes of free and fair elections and a free press demonstrate to the world that Ukraine is the leader in this region in its commitment to democratic values.
[2] Second: the current economic crisis.   It will end; they always do.  Ukraine’s economy will begin to recover this year.  Ukraine’s leaders still face difficult challenges and hard decisions.  My sense is the Ukrainian people want their leaders to unite and lead them out of this crisis. 

These leaders need to work in concert with the IMF, the World Bank and other international donors; they need to push forward measures that would reform the pension system and Naftagas; they need to forge a framework for the reform of the fragile banking sector that addresses recapitalization and resolution in a transparent manner, consistent with international best practices. 

A unified message and decisive, concrete actions by Ukraine's leaders will be necessary to reestablish confidence of the Ukrainian people and the international community.
Regarding external relations and the question of whether Ukraine can enjoy a solid and productive relationship with both the West and Russia:  yes you can.   Ukraine needs to have a positive and fruitful relationship with all its neighbors based on mutual respect.  The U.S. rejects the notion that Ukraine must “choose” between the West and Russia.   
Political wrangling kept Ukraine from making the changes it needs in its judicial system, its land market, its anti-corruption efforts, its investment climate, its constitution.  These changes are necessary for Ukraine’s continued development as a democratic, successful, European state. 

I am confident that the new generation of Ukrainians, the generation that was born and raised in the new independent Ukraine, will increasingly push this country in this direction.

LINK: In Ukrainian:  http://www.dt.ua/1000/1550/66238/
LINK: in Russian: http://www.zn.ua/1000/1550/66238/

U.S. Embassy, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 21, 2009

Question: What else have you accomplished besides getting a permit for the construction of the embassy? And what have you laid during the groundbreaking? Because according to the Ukrainian tradition they normally would lay a bottle or some kind of a brick.

Ambassador Taylor: My feelings as I leave, let me start with that.

[1] First of all, it has been a great honor for me to serve as the representative of the United States here in Ukraine for the last three years. Ukraine for the United States is a very important country.

We think that the success of Ukraine is important not only for Ukrainians, but it's also important for other Europeans and for the world in general. So to serve here, in this capital of this country, and I'm sure I speak for many of my colleagues, is a great honor. And we take this honor and opportunity very seriously.

[2] I also have to say that I feel some disappointment that we haven't gotten more done over the past three years than we have. As I was preparing to come, I looked at the election calendar, and in 2006 it looked like to me that there wouldn't be an election until 2010. And I thought that the time that I was going to be here, from 2006 through 2009, would be a time for consolidation of democracy and economic development.

There were democratic reforms, and economic reforms, and judicial reforms, that all needed to happen, and I thought that this three years from 2006 through 2009 would be a great time to work on those. And I had come from some exciting places, like Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Jerusalem, and I was ready for some less exciting time and more working time.

Some more nuts and bolts, some more lower level but important reform work needed to be done. But of course, that was not to be. There were three prime
ministers, three governments, three foreign ministers, three speakers, a snap election. So, not much reform got done. People were talking about new elections in all three years that I've been here.

[3] However, the last thing I would say about my feelings on leaving is that I'm very optimistic. I'm very sure things are going to get better. I'm sure things are going to get better economically, because they can't get much worse. Politically, things are going to get better.

I think things have gotten politically better over the past couple of days. There's a new possibility of the government and the Presidential Secretariat
and the President and the Rada working more closely together on some of these important issues.

The other reason I'm optimistic is that Ukraine's independence is now eighteen years old, and so there's a generation of Ukrainians who turn eighteen this year, who will vote in the presidential election. And this generation never knew the Soviet times.

And the third reason that I'm optimistic is that late last night a Ukrainian team united all Ukraine in Istanbul. This is a great day for Ukraine. Now, on your question about a time capsule or the brick or the vodka or the horilka or whatever it is, what is our plan Bill?

Bill Prior: We will do it.

Ambassador Taylor: Bill Pryor says we will follow that tradition. Thank you for pointing it out. Thank you. Yes, please.

Question (Inter TV channel): Can you comment on the scandalous dismissal of the head of the Presidential Secretariat Viktor Baloha? What was your
perception of this scandalous dismissal of Baloha?

Ambassador Taylor: This is a decision for Mr. Baloha and the President. This is an internal decision by the President and his chief of staff. We will look forward to working with the next head of the Presidential Secretariat.

Question (Interfax Ukraina): Before you depart, what would you recommend and advise to Ukrainian politicians and the Ukrainian people?


Ambassador Taylor: My recommendation would be: hold on to your two greatest achievements over the past four years.

[2] The first great achievement, is the now well-established tradition of free and fair elections. Ukraine has shown the world, maybe too often, that
it can conduct free and fair elections. People may take for granted free and fair elections, but they should not.

I was talking to a Ukrainian this morning who remembers the election in 2004. His grandmother was visited by some people, and his grandmother was
told how she should vote. That doesn't happen any more. Free and fair elections are a sign of a healthy democracy.

In real democracies, when they have elections, you don't know who's going to win before the election. Not many people in the world could have predicted
who would be elected President of the United States last November. And the United States, I think we would all agree, is a real democracy.

Ukraine's a real democracy. You can't tell who's going to win before the election. But we shouldn't take that for granted either, because there are countries in this region where you do know who's going to win before the election. And those are not real democracies.

[2] But the second big thing that I would recommend Ukrainian people and politicians to hold on to, which is an achievement of the last four years, is a free press. Free from interference or influence from the government. And again, this should not be taken for granted. One can see in countries in this region the direct influence of the government over TV channels.

But there's no influence of the national government over TV channels in Ukraine. There's influence by other actors, but not the government, and that's important. So that would be my recommendation to Ukraine's leaders: maintain those two major achievements.

Question (Channel 24): Do you know who will be your successor? Did you manage for OPIC to come back and protect US investments overseas.

Ambassador Taylor: On your first question, there has not been a decision in Washington about my successor. There has been a lot of discussion about it,
and I know many of the candidates who are eager to come out here. So there is a strong competition back there to be selected to come out here, and I
can understand why.

Now, your second question, one of my disappointments has been, so far, failure to bring OPIC, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, back to Ukraine. And it's not for lack of trying. There is a person standing behind you, Bill Kline, who has spent many of his waking hours, probably a majority
of his waking hours on this very topic. And he has gotten us very, very close. And I still have two days to work, so I hope we can accomplish it before I leave.

Question (Ukrainian Weekly): When will we see Barack Obama's new Ukraine foreign policy?

Ambassador Taylor: You have seen Barack Obama's Ukraine foreign policy. President Obama sent Hilary Clinton's first deputy, Jim Steinberg, here a
couple of weeks ago. And he came here with exactly that purpose, to describe President Obama's foreign policy toward Ukraine. And that foreign policy is
very clear.

It is to continue the U.S. government's policy over the past eighteen years, in particular over the past four years, to support the territorial integrity,
independence, and sovereignty of Ukraine. President Obama has made some changes in his foreign policy from the previous administration, and he has
maintained some continuity in other policies.

Some of the things he's changed, you've seen. He's now willing to talk to the Iranians. He's made some changes in our policy and interaction with Cuba. He has made and effort to improve the tone of our dialogue with the Russians. He is accelerating the withdrawal from Iraq.

He is redefining and refocusing our effort in Afghanistan. However, he is not changing his strong support for Ukraine. As Senator -- you may recall, Senator Obama, now President Obama-- visited Ukraine. And he understands the importance, the strategic importance, that I mentioned earlier of this country. He also believes that it's possible to have a dialogue with the Russians on some areas that we can agree on, perhaps arms control.

But at the same time, we can have parallel conversations with the Russians about NATO expansion or about the Georgia invasion. We will disagree. We
will continue to disagree with the Russians on NATO expansion and the Georgian invasion and recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

But president Obama believes that we can have those two conversations in parallel without having a contradiction between the two. Mr. Steinberg was here to explain that to Ukrainian leaders as well as to the Ukrainian people.

Question (Religion Information Agency of Ukraine): During your tour here, what is the situation with religious freedoms in Ukraine? Has it improved? How much? What is the role of the U.S. embassy in this process here? And do you plan in the future to support projects that are directly designed for the
promotion of religious freedoms in Ukraine?

Ambassador Taylor: We believe that Ukraine has, in general, a tolerant attitude toward religions. There are of course problems, and there are of course incidents of attacks on people maybe for their religion. Our embassy and other embassies, other international actors, are very concerned about freedom of religion, about tolerance to minorities, about acceptance of all people for whatever religious or ethnic background.

We spend a lot of our time monitoring closely the state of human rights in Ukraine and other countries around the world. And we put out a report every year. On specific issues, we have had some success in helping some religious congregations resolve conflicts with the local governments.

Question (Culture TV Channel): The first question, what do you think of the cultural ties between the United States and Ukraine? And do you plan any
programs in education and in cultural relationships and interactions with Ukraine?

Ambassador Taylor: Some of our best programs of interaction between Americans and Ukrainians are exchanges and educational exchanges. These are
opportunities for Ukrainian students and professionals to visit the United States and understand our culture and explain Ukrainian culture and history and politics to Americans.

In my travels around this country, I frequently run into Ukrainians who have participated in these exchanges, and they tell me of their experiences in the United States. And they tell me how they have informed Americans about Ukraine. We intend to continue and expand those programs.

Question: You mentioned you needed a lot of signatures to get this property. Did that also entail paying a lot of bribes?

Ambassador Taylor: It did not. Ukrainians seem to know that Americans, and American businessmen as well, don't pay bribes. It makes it very easy. We
just say no, but I don't even know that we were asked for any bribes. I'm sure Mr. Krivinos would agree that there were no such problems. Thank you all very much.

LINK: http://kiev.usembassy.gov/files/090522_final_pressconf_eng.html

U.S. Embassy, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 21, 2009

AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: Whoever we have to thank for this glorious weather, we should thank that person. Let me ask two other people to come join us up here at this site, Mr. Krivinos and Bill Pryor.

Mr. Krivinos is well known to all Ukrainians and all diplomatic missions. We can only be building here thanks to Mr. Krivinos and the mayor. The deputy mayor may join us, but he sent word that he's been called to a meeting and he asked Mr. Krivinos to represent him.

He asked us to get started with the celebration. Bill Pryor is the most important person out here. He works at an office in the State Department in Washington called O.B.O., the Office of Buildings Overseas. The office of O.B.O. is very well known in the State Department. This man is paying for this new embassy. He's got it right in his pocket. Thank you, Bill.

This ceremony is one that I've looked forward to, but also people who have been in the embassy for the past many years have been looking forward to this day. My predecessor, Ambassador John Herbst, he thought as one of his last actions before he left Kyiv that he had the final permit in hand, but he didn't. He told me what I had to do, and he said I had to talk to Mr. Krivinos, and the mayor, and many others.

When I first arrived, one of my first duties was to talk to President Yushchenko. President Yushchenko was probably a little surprised when I raised the permit for a piece of land for our new embassy in my first meeting with him. But I also had several meetings with the foreign minister, then it was Mr. Tarasyuk. I talked to the Prime Minister, then it was Mr. Yakhanurov. I had to talk to other ministers.

All the cabinet ministers had to sign off on this final deal. We got very close, and then someone came out to this site and noticed that there were a couple of greenhouses on this site. And then someone, and I'm sure it was not Mr. Krivinos, said if it is greenhouses that must mean this is agricultural land. And as everyone knows, it's against the law to buy and sell agricultural land. But we overcame that as well, and here we are today.

We will break ground. The three of us in a moment will go put shovels in the dirt, and in two years many of our Ukrainian employees of the embassy will move into this new building. We want to have this building, which is shown here, so you can come take a look at this drawing of it, we want this building to be something that our Ukrainian employees at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv embassy are proud of.

And I want Ukrainian officials and Ukrainian people when they come to this embassy to be proud of it as well. That will make the Americans who work there proud. In two years, we will see the ribbon cutting. That will be the next ceremony.

Mr. Anatoly has suggested that I come back, and I would be glad to come back for that ribbon cutting as well. You can see the yellow and black tape here. That is the outline of the main chancery building, and that's the building that you can see on this banner.

MR. KRIVONOS: Esteemed Mr. Ambassador, the embassy, the Kyiv city administration, headed by Leonid Chernovetsky, paid a lot of attention finding a place housing the U.S. embassy in Ukraine. Mr. Ambassador was right in listing all the officials that he had to talk to to achieve the final deal for this project.

You know it is very tough to find four hectares of land in the city of Kyiv. And it is true that the city of Kyiv offered several sites in Kyiv for this project. And a delegation from Washington DC came to review the sites, and they made their final choice on this particular site that previously was named Tankovo street.

Because prior to the greenhouses, there was a tank training site here. And we are proud that the street Tankovo was renamed Tsikorsky street. I congratulate Mr. Ambassador on the mission that he has accomplished and suggest that we start breaking ground. And the mayor, Mr. Chernovetsky, has assured that he will do his best so the embassy will be built even earlier than planned.

LINK: http://kiev.usembassy.gov/files/090521_groundbreaking_eng.html