April 13, 2023
Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
With the war in Ukraine now in its second year, government and business leaders from the U.S. and abroad are focusing on economic recovery and rebuilding. This effort will require cooperation between the public and private sectors to address current needs and future opportunities.
Suzanne P. Clark, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gave the welcome address at the U.S.-Ukraine Partnership Forum to discuss some of these needs and opportunities.
Global Challenges Continue to Impact the Foreign Policy Landscape
Clark noted the global challenges impacting every country today, including “high inflation, slowing growth, rising interest rates, and true threats to financial stability.”
“We are feeling more than any other year a palpable sense of urgency around the long-term implications,” she said, noting that the ongoing war in Ukraine continues to dominate the foreign policy landscape.
“[The U.S.] Chamber has been at the forefront of anticipating and addressing the challenges that face not just companies but countries,” said Clark. “The war in Ukraine continues to have a significant impact both on global security and on economic stability. It sent energy prices soaring [and] impacted critical supply chains, and we’ve seen the disruption the war has created in the global food supply.”
“The unprovoked invasion of a country by a regional power armed with nuclear weapons has profound implications for the global rules-based order,” she continued.
However, she noted that “instead of division, [Putin] was met with unified and full-throated support for Ukraine from the United States, our NATO allies, and many others around the world.”
Clark added that Finland’s support and entry into NATO demonstrate “the profound shifts occurring on the global stage,” and Sweden is expected to soon follow suit.
The U.S. Has Stepped Up to Aid Ukraine, Helping to Stabilize Its Economy
During these trying times, the U.S. has acknowledged the importance of helping Ukraine and its people.
“The U.S. business community understands the significance of this war as well and has stepped up to meet this moment in impressive fashion,” Clark said. “More than $1 billion of corporate humanitarian assistance has been committed to Ukraine.”
This assistance provides food, shelter, clean water, and other necessary resources to those affected by the war. It also ensures access to education and mental health resources, as well as helps settle Ukrainian refugees — most of whom are women and children — safely in neighboring countries.
“Our nation’s commitment to Ukraine has never wavered, and as the war enters its second year, that commitment is more important than ever and reflects bipartisan support from Congress, the administration, and, of course, the President,” Clark emphasized.
“This support was on full display at the Munich Security Conference earlier this year, where nearly 25% of Congress … [was] in attendance,” she continued. “What was also really clear in Munich was that governments alone cannot address these challenges. It is the private sector that must help rebuild the country and stabilize the economy much as it did after World War II."
The U.S. Chamber Is Launching the Ukraine-Business Initiative to Rebuild and Grow Ukraine’s Market Potential
According to Clark, the “recovery and modernization of Ukraine will require an unprecedented amount of time, money, and commitment.” Part of this will involve the launch of the new Ukraine Business Initiative from the U.S. Chamber.
“It will be an enormous undertaking that will require multi-year engagement and international coordination, as well as significant financial investment from the people in this room,” she said. “To prepare for this effort, the U.S. Chamber is launching the Ukraine Business Initiative to unify and facilitate the business community’s involvement.”
Clark noted the initiative will focus on rebuilding Ukraine, growing market potential, and reorienting markets towards new trade and investment partners.
“American support for Ukraine is not charity; it’s an investment in global security and democracy,” she added. “An investment in Ukraine's future is an investment in our collective future.”