WASHINGTON — Delegations from the United States and Ukraine met yesterday, in person and virtually, in Washington DC for the tenth meeting of the United States - Ukraine Trade and Investment Council (Council), aimed at increasing bilateral trade and investment. The Council meeting was convened under the United States - Ukraine Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement (TICA). Assistant United States Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, L. Daniel Mullaney, led the U.S. delegation and the First Deputy Prime Minister-Minister of Economy of Ukraine, Yulia Svyrydenko,led the Ukrainian delegation. Ambassador Tai provided opening remarks.
As part of the September meeting of President Biden and President Zelenskyy, the U.S. and Ukrainian governments pledged to work together to help Ukraine take steps to reform its economy and strengthen its investment environment to deliver benefits for both countries. The United States remains a committed partner for Ukraine and expressed its continued support for an independent, democratic, safe, and prosperous Ukraine.
The Council met to advance the economic partnership endorsed by the Presidents. The United States and Ukraine launched a Labor Working Group in which the countries will collaborate to make our bilateral relationship more worker-centered. The working group will develop a work plan to promote progress on labor issues and grow the economies of both of our countries. The meeting opened with remarks from senior government officials from both delegations, followed by presentations from stakeholders who highlighted the opportunities in Ukraine, but underscored the need for reform. They stressed the importance of the bilateral relationship and our shared commitment to address global challenges.
In the government-to-government portion of the meeting, the delegates first discussed ways to create a more robust and inclusive bilateral trading relationship. Starting with the agriculture sector, the participants highlighted the shared commitment to protect our planet and discussed cooperation on climate change solutions and sustainability as we increase production in the agriculture sector, particularly through the use of innovative technologies. They also reviewed Ukraine’s efforts to ensure its import regime for animal-based products is open and transparent and based on international standards, explored options for U.S. exports of live heifers to Ukraine to help farmers in both countries, and discussed access to the U.S. market for Ukrainian agricultural products. The delegates discussed the market distortions caused by non-market excess capacity and its impact on their respective steel industries. Ukraine raised concerns about the section 232 tariffs.
The two delegations also discussed a proposal to promote an adaptable regulatory compliance regime to stimulate trade in industrial products. They also explored options for upgrading the TICA as agreed upon during the Presidential visit. Ukraine committed to maintaining a transparent and predictable regulatory regime and to basing its measures on international standards in order to position Ukraine to trade with a variety of markets. The Heads of Delegation directed their teams to continue their work together on these issues.
In the area of intellectual property, the delegations agreed to pursue an Intellectual Property (IP) Work Plan identifyingtangible steps Ukraine can take to demonstrate progress on keyIP issues. The Heads of Delegation encouraged continued engagement between the teams on issues identified in the Special 301 Report, including on the implementation of a transparent, fair, and predictable system for the collective management of copyright royalties. Ukraine also committed to develop and implement a program to eliminate use of unlicensed software by government agencies. The delegates also discussed Ukraine’s recent activities related to IP enforcement, particularly on the issue of online piracy, and how to improve those efforts.
The delegates also discussed the ongoing work to improve theinvestment environment in Ukraine. Both sides recognized the importance of predictability, transparency, and the rule of law to attract foreign investment. The United States encouraged Ukraine to enact and implement an investment screening mechanism based on international best practices and stressed the importance of good corporate governance practices to attract and retain foreign investment. The government of Ukraine agreed to work to address delays in value added tax refunds and improve understanding of the refund and audit processes. Lastly, both sides discussed trade in media and programming services, and Ukraine confirmed it will maintain an open, fair, and non-discriminatory market for U.S. suppliers.
Overall, the delegates acknowledged the progress made in many areas, and agreed that more work remains. Members of both delegations remain hopeful about the opportunities and potential of the Ukrainian economy and are committed to working together in support of Ukraine’s continued reform efforts. They will work to advance a strong and inclusive relationship and look forward to expanding efforts in the next Council meeting, proposed for 2022 in Kyiv.
The United States and Ukraine signed the United States-Ukraine Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement (TICA) in 2008. The TICA established the TIC as the primary intergovernmental mechanism for discussion of trade and investment relations between the two countries.
U.S.-Ukraine bilateral trade in 2020 was approximately $3.2 billion. U.S. goods exports totaled $2.5 billion; Ukrainian good imports totaled $1.4 billion.