Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council

Boosts membership 88 percent in one year

By Yuliya Melnyk, Washington, D.C., Special the Kyiv Post
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 24, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - For those investors willing to look past the global economic crisis and ubiquitous corruption in Ukraine, there is a bright
economic future ahead – perhaps sometime in 2011.

That’s the message some participants gave during the Dec. 17 annual meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council [USUBC] in Washington, D.C. One measure of success: Microsoft has recently joined the council, becoming the 100th member of the trade association.

USUBC Annual Meeting 2008

“Microsoft is very committed to the Ukrainian market and continues to expand its programs in Ukraine,” Dorothy Dwoskin, the senior director of global trade policy and strategy in Microsoft, said.

Morgan Williams, president of U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, said membership in the organization has gone from 22 members in 2007 to 100 members this year.” The group “added one new member per week in 2008,” Williams said.

One key to the organization’s popularity is the “timely information [members receive] on the Ukrainian business climate and effective advocacy for reform and action,” as U.S. Ambassador William Taylor stated in a letter to the council.

International Monetary Fund representatives attended to explain the $16.4 billion credit to Ukraine and to offer predictions about its economic future.
Ceyla Pazarbasiouglu, the new IMF mission chief in Ukraine, said the nation’s growth rate may return to 5 to 6 percent by 2011, with lower inflation, assuming a global recovery in the second half of 2009.

Yuriy Yakusha, also of the IMF, noted that more than 1.5 million tons of goods are sitting in Ukrainian ports and not being exported because other
nations’ importers are suffering from the global crisis.

USUBC 100th member - Microsoft

But familiar stories of corruption emerged.

Bruce Marks, managing director of the Philadelphia law firm Marks & Sokolov, said his lawyers bypass Ukrainian courts altogether. “We don’t litigate in
Ukraine. Ever,” Marks said, because of the corruption. But he hasn’t given up. “It is necessary to be patient of the democratic processes slow
development,” Marks said.

Jack Heller, attorney and partner Heller & Rosenblatt in Washington, D.C., reminded the audience that “the facts of expropriations of the U.S.
investors’ properties are well-known” and that the investment climate needs to be improved. Heller said IMF financial support is a good chance to remind
Ukrainian government officials of their obligations to improve the situation.

LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/business/bus_focus/32388