U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
“A strong international voice for business in Ukraine”
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN UKRAINE
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), Washington, D.C., Fri, Oct 14, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC — “Ukraine has all preconditions to become an economic leader in Eastern Europe using its rich natural resources, educated workforce and advantageous geographic location at the crossroads of major trade routes between Europe and Eurasia,” Olexander Motsyk, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Olexander Motsyk, said in his presentation at a recent international business conference organized by The Heritage Foundation and U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) in Washington, D.C.. Over 150 participants attended the conference.
The conference’s speakers emphasized that Ukraine’s global economic integration and taking its rightful place among free, democratic, and prosperous nations should be an important American foreign policy priority. The rebirth and advancement of economic freedom in Ukraine could have a positive impact not only on Eastern Europe but also in Russia and other post-Soviet states.
Achieving this desirable outcome, however, will require the government of Ukraine to implement major structural, legal and regulatory reforms aimed at establishing a stronger free market democracy, setting up a level playing field for business working under the rule of law and getting Ukraine fully open for business.
Opening the international conference, “Reviving Economic Growth and Freedom in Ukraine,” the president of U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) Morgan Williams stated: “On the 20th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence, Ukraine is faced with one of the most important tasks which is moving the country forward to a much higher level of economic freedom because without such economic freedoms, Ukraine is not going to have an adequate level of international and domestic business investment, experience higher levels of economic growth, create the number of jobs needed by its people, and build a strong and prosperous middle class.” Williams is the Washington government affairs representative of the SigmaBleyzer private equity investment firm.
Former Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh, Ambassador Oleksander Motsyk, Leonid Kozachenko, James Roberts, Ariel Cohen, Morgan Williams
Former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Anatoliy Kinakh, one of the leading private sector advocates for economic freedom in Ukraine who currently serves as President of Ukrainian League of Industrialists & Entrepreneurs made a presentation entitled: “Moving Ukraine Forward through Needed Economic Reforms.”
“Despite all complications that Ukraine is currently experiencing, the historical direction of the transition has been toward free market system and away from centrally planned economy. We know that progress for economic growth and progress for democracy go hand in hand. Ukraine has chosen an irreversible path toward democratic, modern, and free market state,” said Kinakh, who is a member of the Ukrainian parliament.
“For the Ukrainian economy to develop more efficiently, the government must adopt a strategic approach to implementing the free market economic reforms such that would gradually encourage international trade and attract more FDI. Currently, flows of trade and FDI are far below their potential level given Ukraine’s dynamic, well-educated population, proximity to the European Union markets, and abundant natural resources,” Kinakh told the conference.
Former Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh and Ambassador Oleksander Motsyk
Given Ukraine’s large amounts of fertile land, Ukraine has a potential to become one of the world’s largest food providers if the government moves forward with the legal and regulatory reform necessary to allow Ukraine’s agricultural sector to freely operate according to international private market standards, be competitive, attract more domestic and international investment and improve its productivity,” said Leonid Kozachenko, President, Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation, and former Deputy Prime Minister for Agrarian Policy.
Kozachenko and other speakers at the conference stressed that to increase private investment the protection of private property rights must be significantly improved in Ukraine through the legal system and the government taking stronger measures against corporate raidership.
UKRAINE NEEDS AN ECONOMIC FREEDOM “RESET”
James Roberts, Research Fellow for Economic Freedom and Growth at The Heritage Foundation and Andriy Tsintsiruk, Assistant Director of Government Relations and Communications at U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), www.usubc.org, published an economic policy report, “Ukraine Needs an Economic Freedom ‘Reset’” in which the authors outlined current challenges and opportunities in Ukraine’s post-Soviet economic transition.
As a joint project publication between The Heritage Foundation and U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, the report was presented at the international conference calling upon the Government of Ukraine to move forward with the implementation of free market economic reforms necessary to unlock the country’s economic potential.
The report emphasized the long-term positive implications for Ukraine if Kyiv concludes a trade association agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union which could serve as an external “framework provider” for the creation of domestic institutions that promote effective and transparent economic regulations in Ukraine.
ANNUAL INDEX OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM – UKRAINE RANKS 164th OUT OF 183 COUNTRIES
James Roberts, a leading expert in economic freedom & growth, produces the annual Index of Economic Freedom, an analysis of the economic climate of countries throughout the world co-published by Heritage & The Wall Street Journal since 1995.
According the Index’s definition of economic freedom, “The highest form of economic freedom provides an absolute right of property ownership, fully realized freedoms of movement for labor, capital, and goods, and an absolute absence of coercion or constraint of economic liberty beyond the extent necessary for citizens to protect and maintain liberty itself.”
According to 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, Ukraine’s ranks 164 in the list of 183 countries: http://www.heritage.org/Index/Country/Ukraine. The Index measures the degree of economic freedom in 183 countries by the following 10 criteria of economic freedom:
The Index of Economic Freedom can be found at : http://www.heritage.org/Index/
U.S. HAS STRONG ECONOMIC AND GEOPOLITICAL INTEREST IN UKRAINE’S FUTURE
As one of the largest investors in Ukraine, the U.S. has real economic and geopolitical interests in Ukraine’s future. The 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence marks an important occasion for the West and offers a good opportunity to the U.S. to re-focus on the country, especially as it seeks to revive its economy, raise the standard of living for its citizens, and integrate with global economy.
The U.S. has already invested significantly in Ukraine’s democratic future and economic integration with the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union by supporting Ukraine’s efforts to transition to a free market economy and providing tangible economic assistance through direct cha
nnels and through international organizations.
U.S. and EU foreign policymakers should develop a cohesive long-term approach toward Ukraine that recognizes its strategic role on the border between Western Europe and Eurasia.
The conference concluded that U.S. foreign policy decision makers should send strong signals of concern to Kyiv about the level of economic freedom in Ukraine and continue providing support to Ukrainian organizations that are committed to democracy, free and private markets, rule of law, economic growth and Euro-Atlantic integration.
LINK: The Heritage Foundation/USUBC Economic Policy Report: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/09/ukraine-needs-an-economic-freedom-reset.
LINK: VIDEO PODCAST OF THE BUSINESS CONFERENCE: http://www.heritage.org/events/2011/09/ukraine