At the same time, we are seeking friendlier ties with Russia, which is a key strategic partner. Ukraine would wish the whole of Europe to be without dividing lines. Russia must be a part of the whole European area of free movement of people, goods, services and capital. We must aim for this goal whatever the difficulties we face now. Ukraine perceives its European integration not only as a national choice, but also as a mission to unite Europe, to remove lingering divisions from Cold War times.
What we are doing, in effect, is carving out an independent niche for Ukraine, as a dynamic bridge between the West and the East.
It is in the West’s interest that Ukraine is politically and economically supported in this effort, further strengthening our reform process. Ukraine has made real progress, and for that, we owe a debt to the West. But we need your continued support to help us over the finish line.
What Ukraine is looking for today is a relationship with the United States that is based on mutual respect and shared interests, both strategic and economic. After all, America is only the 14th largest market for Ukrainian goods, far below the real potential in our trade ties. We can do much better.
Ukraine wants U.S. companies to enjoy its business-friendly environment. We are simplifying the regulatory environment, making substantial cuts in the number of bureaucratic procedures and creating a more transparent and enforceable legal environment.
We continue to make strides to improve copyright infringement, intellectual property and computer piracy protections thanks to measures against unlicensed PC products and software. This had earlier been an issue between our two countries, but not any longer.
This week, I will have the honor of leading my country’s delegation to the Ukrainian-American Commission on Trade and Investment in Washington.
This will be an opportunity to work together with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to put trade back on the front burner and to work through the issues that remain to be resolved between us.
We are making deep, systemic reforms in Ukraine, reforms that will help unlock the untapped potential of an already fast-growing economy.
We hope that our friends in the U.S. administration will work with us to improve and intensify our trade and investment ties. We believe the United States will find in Ukraine a strong and stable regional partner.
Or to put it another way, it is time to hit the “refresh” button with Ukraine.
Valeriy Khoroshkovskiy is first deputy prime minister of Ukraine.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.