Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council


U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) Washington, DC
Monday, January 7, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC - On January 3, 2008 the US-Ukraine Business Council
(USUBC) and the Cargill Company hosted a meeting in Washington, DC with
William Taylor, US Ambassador to Ukraine, on current political, economic
and business developments in the country. Over 65 members and guests
attended the meeting.

Ambassador Taylor said that the coming of the new Tymoshenko government to power is a positive sign for the prospects for further reform. He described two possible scenarios for the new Cabinet.

According to the optimistic one, the government coalition would be durable and pursue needed economic reforms. Ambassador Taylor stressed that there is an active dialogue between the president, prime-minister and speaker in Ukraine.

He described this as a positive trend compared to the recent past.

In the Ambassador's view, the less positive scenario would be the renewal of past infighting within the governing coalition, with Prime Minister Tymoshenko and President Yushchenko maneuvering for political advantage with an eye on the presidential elections. This would again set back reforms.

As long as a clear separation of responsibilities existed between the president and the premier, said Taylor, the government can succeed in its work.

Among the positive trends in Ukraine, Ambassador Taylor noted the active
work by Ukraine on WTO accession and rapid passage of a budget. He
thought Ukraine would join the WTO soon and that Ukraine would work
to solve the ongoing issue with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) that has caused OPIC programs to be closed for Ukraine.

He also said that, in contrast to the past, both the new coalition and the
political opposition are focused on economic reforms, fighting corruption,
and improving the investment climate. Amb. Taylor said that these trends
give him hope for the positive changes in these spheres.

The Ambassador answered a series of questions from the audience
about business and economic issues such as VAT tax refunds, grain
export controls, intellectual property rights, corporate raidership,
private land ownership, and customs controls.

Gene Van Dyke, president of VANCO Energy, Houston, discussed his
companies recent activities in Ukraine in a presentation to the meeting.
VANCO has signed with the government of Ukraine the first contract
for an international company to do deep-water drilling in the Black Sea
off the shore of Ukraine.

Irina Paliashvili, head of the USUBC Legal Affairs Working Group, 
called on the new government deal with legal reform. She noted the
current system is archaic, chaotic, and at times absurd.

Paliashvili called for the new government to act fast in order to improve
business climate in the country by cancelling the most archaic and
damaging legislation. She also called the new government to deal rapidly
with WTO accession.

Paliashvili noted that outstanding issues related to legislative reform have
been neglected for too long by Ukrainian leaders and called the government
of Tymoshenko to face them without further delay. 

At the session USUBC President Morgan Williams welcomed MaxWell
USA as the first new member of the Council in 2008.

Williams also announced the results of the election of the USUBC
executive committee and officers for 2008 which was held at the
USUBC annual meeting in December. The following were elected:

Paula Freer, Marathon
Michael Kirst, Westinghouse
Paul Nathanson, The PBN Company
Irina Paliashvilli, Ukrainian Legal Group
Andrew Pidgirsky, Ukrainian American Bar Association
John Rauber, Deere & Co.
Samir Sahgal, The Boeing Company, Treasurer
Patrick Sweet, SASI
Arnold Wellman, UPS
Morgan Williams, SigmaBleyzer, Chairman & President
Van Yeutter, Cargill
Jack Heller, Heller & Rosenblatt, Legal Counsel