Ambassador Yovanovitch

Remarks as delivered at P&G event marking 20th Anniversary in Ukraine

Boryspil - April 6, 2017


Hello, everybody, and thank you for inviting me here today for the 20-year anniversary of Procter & Gamble here in Kyiv, Ukraine, in Boryspil.

It’s really an honor to be here, and I congratulate everybody, because this is truly a wonderful occasion. Obviously, I want to welcome First Vice Prime Minister Kubiv, and also Mayor Fedorchuk.  It’s great to be with all of you.

I was lucky enough – and I hope you may have an opportunity to do this as well – I was lucky enough to actually be able to take a tour of the plant.  It’s a really impressive operation, as those of you who were with me know.  I think it’s a great example – P&G’s operations here are a great example of the strong business ties that have developed between our two countries.

Over the past 20 years P&G’s presence has grown to nearly 700 employees working on two facilities.  And their products can now be found all over Ukraine and in fact beyond Ukraine as well.  Since 1997, my understanding is that P&G has invested over $300 million in the facilities here in Boryspil and Ordzhonikidze.  That’s meant new production manufacturer, new equipment and opportunities for Ukrainian employees to learn new skills and to develop professionally.  I have to say – I’m sort of biased, but I think everybody in this room would say the same thing – we’re hoping for another $300 million dollar investment here. (Applause) It would not only be to the benefit of the company, but also of course to those strong U.S.-Ukrainian business ties.

P&G’s presence here provides important benefits to the state budget through its payment of business and social taxes.  And one of the things I was particularly impressed with was the way P&G was leading the way in corporate social responsibility, by providing household and hygiene products to hundreds of thousands of people here in Ukraine, including Internally Displaced People. And I think what’s equally important is this isn’t just top management making a decision that is then implemented. It goes further than that because P&G employees are personally involved as well.  Whether that’s packing hygiene kits or signing and sending postcards, raising funds for those who are less well-off, renovating children’s playgrounds, visiting orphanages, I think all of that is really important to the social fabric and it sets a very good example. So it makes me really proud as the American Ambassador to see American corporations taking such a proactive role in supporting the communities where they operate.  I think that’s really important.

We are probably going to hear more about it later, but during the tour, I also got like a little sneak peek in terms of some of the innovations that P&G has brought to the company here. And some of the really important ways that they do business in terms of recycling and other really important corporate policies.

American investment also supports employees and their families, both here in Ukraine as well as in the United States. Which is why it’s important from my point of view – but I think from everybody’s point of view – that American corporations continue to grow and prosper here in Ukraine.  And that depends on continuing to improve the rule of law and creating a level playing field for all corporations in Ukraine.  The important new anti-corruption institutions like NABU and the specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutors’ Office as well as the National Investment Council and Ukraine Invest are aimed at exactly doing those things - improving the rule of law and making it possible for major corporations like P&G to prosper and to expand.  These kinds of programs and institutions that the Ukrainian government is establishing will also attract new investors for the future.  Whether in agribusiness, the IT sector, or manufacturing consumer goods, Ukraine holds great potential for future expansion and future growth.

In 2017, our 25th anniversary of U.S.-Ukraine diplomatic relations, I’m especially delighted to see that one of our best known corporations, P&G, has been operating, thriving, and expanding in Ukraine for nearly as long.  By continuing to improve the business climate here, our trade relations will only deepen.  I look forward to see what the next 25 years brings.  Congratulations and best wishes for continued success!  Thank you very much.

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