August 28, 2017
Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine
I’m thrilled to be here and I want to thank you, Minister for a warm welcome and for hosting all of us here today. And I want to welcome friends from the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority and as well as of course Bunge.
It’s good to see friends like Andy Hunder from Amcham, as well as our many other friends, from USUBC.
I’m going to state the obvious: International investment creates jobs. It boosts tax revenues – and it strengthens Ukraine’s economic health and stability.
And of course from my point of view, it’s even better if that investment comes from American companies.
And Bunge has already invested heavily into Ukraine – to $280 million – and significantly increased Ukraine’s export capacity of grain and sunflower seed oil.
Bunge already employs 1,500 people in Ukraine and this number may increased with its expansion.
I’m so pleased to see that Bunge’s confidence in Ukraine is high, and that today we are going to be witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the government regarding a $30 million expansion plan in Mykolaiv.
It shows that Ukraine is becoming a more attractive place for international investment.
And I know that Ukraine has the potential to do so much more.
If there’s one key to attracting the investment Ukraine needs for stronger economic growth, it’s establishing a robust business climate.
To improve that business climate, Ukraine needs to continue moving aggressively to strengthen the rule of law and to limit the influence of entrenched interests.
As I think many of you are aware, Secretary of State Tillerson was here in July, and he’s a man who knows a thing or two about business.
And he stressed that to attract foreign direct investment, Ukraine needs to fulfill its IMF obligations, including setting up an anti-corruption court.
Reducing red tape and simplifying regulations are powerful weapons in the fight against corruption, and they are key to improving the business climate.
Of course government regulation is of course important to protect the public interest. But each requirement for a stamp or a permit or a license is also an opportunity not just for obstruction and delays, but also for manipulation by vested interests.
These challenges are – quite literally – hindering efforts to build the new Ukraine. And that’s why it’s so important for Ukraine to address these concerns head on.
That’s why I welcome today’s support from the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Seaports Authority. This support is crucial and your presence shows your commitment to improving Ukraine’s business environment and to building the kind of country Ukrainians want to live in.
So I commend everyone here for your sustained efforts, not just for this project, but for your country.
With your continued support, Ukraine can become an attractive and vibrant place to do business for investors around the world.
So I wish Bunge every success with their expansion plans and I think all of us are looking forward to cutting that ribbon.