SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  First, thanks to each and every one of you for being here today.  We have a remarkable roundtable of people with us, starting first of all with our friend and colleague from Ukraine, the Minister of Strategic Industries, Oleksandr Kamyshin.  Thank you, Mr. Minister, for being here.  And of course, the indomitable ambassador from Ukraine to the United States – I think probably a household figure for many, many Americans, and it’s wonderful to have you here today.  But also a number of people that I’ll come to in a minute, particularly representatives from the private sector who are already engaged in Ukraine and I think can provide tremendous guidance to all of us as we’re thinking about how to strengthen and increase private sector engagement in Ukraine.

The destruction wrought by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, particularly with regard to its economy in all of its manifestations, has been horrific.  But we are already seeing remarkable strides by Ukraine not only to build back what has been lost, but in many cases to really build back with the future in mind.  That’s happened in part with significant assistance from the many friends of Ukraine around the world, dozens of countries.  It’s happened with the support of international financial institutions.  But ultimately the way it’s really going to happen, and the way it’s going to be sustained, is through the engagement of the private sector and investment flowing to a place that has so many extraordinary things to offer, starting with its remarkable human resources.  We’ve all had an opportunity to work with, to engage with our Ukrainian friends, whether it’s in private enterprise or through government.  And for all of the great strengths that Ukraine brings to the world, the number-one strength is that human resource.

So I think the future has extraordinary potential.  But it’s also important that we understand not only what that potential is, but what some of the barriers might be to fully reaching it.  And I’m – and all of us are eager to hear about that.

The effort to support and to strengthen and to help build Ukraine’s economic recovery is a fundamental piece of the approach of the Biden administration, as well as many other countries around the world in their support for Ukraine.  We see this as one of the most fundamental, essential tenets of the work that we’re doing.  Because ultimately the objective here is not only for Ukraine to survive – which it will, which it is, which it has – but to thrive.  And the difference between surviving and thriving is the difference between a Ukraine that has, for the future, a strong, capable military that can deter aggression and as necessary defend against it and defeat it far into the future; but as important, a strong and thriving economy, one that creates opportunities for Ukrainians, but also, I believe, opportunities for people throughout Europe and around the world, including the United States.  So that’s what we want to drive at.

And as evidence of the importance that we attach to this, the President just a week or so ago appointed our Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery, Penny Pritzker, who is with us today and I think is known to virtually everyone around this table and well beyond as, among many other things, our former secretary of commerce.  I can think of no one better to lead this effort, to lead this effort in the United States, to lead this effort internationally, than Penny.

So Penny, let me turn it over to you, say a few words, and then we’ll get going.

MS PRITZKER:  First of all, thank you, Secretary Blinken and Minister Kamyshin and everybody, for being here today.  You heard President Biden speak yesterday about how he believes in the potential of the Ukrainian people, and he’s sincere and we’re sincere in that we’re in this for as long as it takes.  And even amid Russia’s brutal war, Ukraine is poised for meaningful economic transformation.  President Biden believes it, I know the Secretary believes it, I believe it, and that’s why I accepted this role as the special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery.

And I’ve only been on the job for six days.  (Laughter.)  But I do have three decades of private sector experience, and I know and understand the conditions that businesses need to grow and to build and to invest in markets.  So when I look at Ukraine now, I see three things.  First, even amid and certainly after Russia fails in its war of aggression, Ukraine has the conditions for economic convergence with Europe: an educated and talented workforce, fertile land, mineral and mining and material wealth, proximity and access to the European single market.  These are ingredients for growth.  Even now they exist and they’re there.

Second, now is a window of opportunity for reform.  The Ukrainian people’s deep patriotism and national consensus are unified behind a reform agenda that positions Ukraine for future economic success.  And we all know that these reforms have to align with private sector expectations for – so that the businesses are comfortable with the environment and willing to take on the risk of investment.

And third, I would just say I view Ukraine’s economic recovery as both a sprint and a marathon.  We need to plan for a long-term sustainable, digital, clean, competitive, European Ukraine, integrated into global markets.  That’s the marathon.  And I’m a marathon runner, so I know that.  But we need results now also, and to jumpstart revival and give the Ukrainians and give the people confidence to come home and to start building towards the future.  That’s the sprint.

And I know different sectors vary.  And we want to know what are the barriers that you’re seeing and the blind spots that exist to mobilizing capital.  That’s what today is about – both now in the short run and in the long term.  And I’m very interested particularly – Mr. Secretary, I’m glad that you’ve convened different sectors of the economy – what are the challenges to investment, what are the opportunities for growth from folks.

And I will just close by saying I’m really honored to serve.  As President Biden stated so eloquently, we stand with Ukraine, and we stand with them to help them build their economy from the severe impacts of this monstrous aggression.  And I’m honored to be here and to be – try to be helpful and to support the ambassador’s sign, which sits on the Ukrainian embassy, that says they are open for business.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, Penny, very, very much.  Mr. Minister, can I give the floor to you?

MINISTER KAMYSHIN:  Sure.  Secretary, thank you.  First of all, I would like to tell that that’s my first visit since the beginning of the war to U.S., to New York, and I’m happy to see New York is the same, but the traffic is even worse than the traffic on Ukrainian railways.  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Can I tell you a secret about that?  Just – and – there’s a three-word secret to dealing with this, three words: take the subway.  (Laughter.)  Works every time.

MINISTER KAMYSHIN:  I know.  Everything that runs on rails works much better than anything else.  (Laughter.)  We know.

Speaking about the economic recovery of Ukraine, first of all, I’m happy that the administration assigned Penny Pritzker as the special representative to Ukraine, and it’s a good sign for Ukraine, for U.S., for the whole world, because that means that it’s a real, real strong move from U.S. side.  And I’m sure that we will do more together.

By far, U.S. is the largest donor in Ukraine’s future, in Ukraine’s victory.  And by far, you are the largest promoter of the coalition that supports Ukraine.  I’ve seen that at Ramstein yesterday, and I’m happy that I can thank you personally for that.  That’s something I will never stop thanking.  It’s really important for me and for my country.  Thank you.

I would like to bring to your attention another opportunity that could be interesting for economic recovery of Ukraine and for opportunities for U.S. companies – that’s defense industry.  It’s not only the backbone of security; it’s also the locomotive of recovery of the country.  And definitely, if we speak about running a marathon, that’s part of the game.  I’ve done marathon in New York four years ago, and by the way, that time, the traffic is even worse.  (Laughter.)

We got many great U.S. brands already fighting in the frontline.  It’s Bradleys, Javelins, and 777 HIMARS; hope (inaudible) soon well, and I’m sure that producing them in Ukraine would be smart move for U.S. companies as well.  We’ve got several projects from several U.S. companies, and I’m sure we will do more.  We showed that our creativity and resilience can bring new stories like defense tech.  That’s something I’m sure that we will share experience with U.S. companies as well, and I’m sure that would be useful.  And I’m happy to say that we are searching for a way how we can move from “give us” to “let’s do it together” model.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very, very much.