October 20, 2009
Washington, DC (UNIS) -- As is generally customary for visiting Ukrainian delegations, the recent visit of Ukraine's Minister of the Economy, Bohdan Danylyshyn, to Washington, DC provided an opportunity to meet with the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. Supported by the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), the Washington public affairs bureau of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, on Thursday, October 15, 2009, a meeting was held in the private congressional office of Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. The congresswoman was joined by Caucus co-chair Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA).
After brief introductions, the Minister of the Economy described the current state of the Ukrainian economy and the huge effect the world economic crisis had on Ukraine, especially the devaluation of the Ukrainian hryvnia currency unit and the sudden drop in major exports. "Ukraine was fortunate to be a recipient country of IMF (International Monetary Funds) loans to help meet our needs during the crisis," elaborated the minister. "We are grateful to the IMF, whose funding for Ukraine was supported by the United States, and we expect the last of four tranches to be delivered in the near future." According to the Minister, continuous efforts are being made to enhance a robust economic reform agenda in Ukraine.
A vibrant discussion followed as the Members of Congress were interested in Ukraine's upcoming presidential elections, as well as plans to recover from the economic downturn and continue with further reform. Questions also resonated regarding agriculture and land ownership in Ukraine. "One of the most critical economic reforms to promote entrepreneurship and a solid free-market-based foundation is agricultural reform and the ability to buy/sell property, or land entitlement," stated Rep. Gerlach. Furthermore, Rep. Kaptur was interested in the distribution of Ukrainian goods and how best the Ukrainians can market their products both domestically and internationally. The Minister replied that land entitlement is currently being considered in the Ukrainian Parliament, while aspects of distribution are indicative of continuing efforts needed to provide economic opportunities for Ukraine's entrepreneurial society.
The Members of Congress were thankful for the Minister's frankness regarding the state of the Ukrainian economy. In his appreciation, Minister Danylyshyn thanked the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus for their staunch advocacy of U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations and presented the co-chairs with an artist's rendering of the Pecherska Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) and a book featuring the history of Ukrainian embroidery. The Minister also extended an invitation to the Members of Congress to visit Ukraine.
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
203 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003