April 13, 2023
U.S. Secretary of Commerce, United States
As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the priority for both local and international leaders is shifting toward the arduous task of rebuilding the country's economy. This process will demand a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors to effectively address the current challenges Ukraine is facing, as well as potential opportunities that lie ahead for its government organizations and businesses.
During the U.S.-Ukraine Partnership Forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, gave a keynote address about the path to recovery and America’s role in helping Ukraine.
The U.S. and Its Allies Continue to Support Ukraine
During the past 14 months, the United States and other allies have taken multiple measures to support Ukraine. These include international export controls to limit Russia’s access to equipment, as well as the provisioning of military equipment and direct budgetary support to Ukraine.
“It is critical that we and our partner governments remain steadfast to ensure that Russia's unconscionable, illegal, senseless war and attempt at an expansionist land grab doesn't succeed,” Raimondo said. “We have a responsibility. It’s a bipartisan responsibility. It's an American responsibility.”
The Bureau of Industry and Security is partnering with other government agencies to enforce restrictions and penalties against those who help Russia obtain restricted goods. President Joe Biden has pledged to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, including during reconstruction — an effort expected to cost over $400 billion.
“I hope we begin to get into these questions and start to find answers to these questions to reassure American businesses that they should do the right thing, which is to support Ukraine and invest in [the country],” Raimondo said.
The Private Sector Can Help Rebuilt Ukraine’s Economy
The U.S. Department of Commerce is eager to engage with the private sector to help rebuild Ukraine’s economy post-conflict. The U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service teams are working to share information and connect Ukrainian public agencies with private U.S. companies across critical industries such as IT, agribusiness, and energy infrastructure.
“American businesses have a tremendous opportunity to play an outsized role to help rebuild Ukraine,” Raimondo said. “And we have to not just commit ourselves, but commit ourselves to rebuilding a Ukrainian economy better than before — more open, more innovative, [and] more inclusive.”
“American businesses with operations in Europe can play a very important role right now [by] hiring Ukranian refugees … mostly women with children who need a job to take care of their families,” she added. “When the war is over, consider sending them back to Ukraine to work in your operation in Ukraine.”
The Road to Recovery Requires Broad Participation
The Department of Commerce plays a critical role in engaging the U.S. private sector to support Ukraine in a post-conflict environment. The Foreign and Commercial Service teams work to facilitate the sharing of information, connect Ukrainian public agencies with private U.S. companies, and offer expertise, technology, and capital across industries critical to Ukraine’s development.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce in Kyiv, the U.S. Ukrainian Business Council, and other associations also have a role to play, and the Department of Commerce is eager to partner with them to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery efforts.
“We want to end this unjust war, and we want to get to the business of rebuilding Ukraine and to show that [Ukraine’s] democracy will thrive — that good will prevail over evil,” Raimondo emphasized.
“Out on the other side of this will be a more vibrant, thriving economy connected to the United States,” she added. “And [the U.S. Chamber] will be there with you — the public sector, the private sector, philanthropy — to get [Ukraine through the war and to rebuild [Ukraine’s] economy on the other end.”