Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference

Dec 7, 2023

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference
Thu, 12/07/2023 – 11:28


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Office of Public Affairs

Hello everyone! Thank you all again for joining us here today.  

As we close out this successful day of dialogue among U.S. and Ukrainian public and private sector leaders, I’d like to express how honored I feel to have been a part of it.

The United States stands resolute in its support for Ukraine, and my hope is that this event has only further solidified and strengthened our commitment to ensuring Ukraine’s safety, security, and success. And it is a testament to the enduring significance of the U.S.-Ukraine partnership that Secretary Raimondo, Secretary Austin, Special Representative Pritzker, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made time to attend here today.

First, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to President Zelenskyy for taking the time to join us virtually. Your leadership and courage during these challenging times are inspiring to witness, and we are so grateful for your friendship and fortitude.

I’d like to acknowledge the presence of other senior levels of the Ukrainian Government as well, including Minister of Strategic Industries, Mr. Oleksandr Kamyshin, Head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, and Minister of Defense, Rusem Umerov, with whom we have worked with very closely over the past several years. 

I’d also like to acknowledge the Department of Commerce’s own International Trade Administration, Bureau of Industry and Security, and our front office and security teams, who helped organize and execute on this wonderful event with our outstanding friends and colleagues at the National Security Council, State Department, and Defense Department. 

Finally, this event would not be what it is without our private sector and the critical role it plays in the development of Ukraine’s defense industry. Among those is the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, whose partnership with the U.S. private sector has been instrumental to that development.

The USUBC has organized tomorrow’s agenda to engage further on many of the conversations started today. We are grateful for their tenacity and efficacy in channeling our private sector to help secure Ukraine’s bright future.

The United States leads the world in defense technology, and this administration is invested in ensuring our partners and allies across the globe have the means to defend themselves – contributing northward of $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine alone. What’s more, U.S. technology, combined with the resilience of Ukraine’s defending forces, has the potential to realize a vision of the future that places peace, prosperity, and progress at its center.

This is what happens when governments and private sectors work together: they lead the way in creating a Ukraine that houses a world-class defense industry base for years to come. 

At Commerce, we not only maintain a sharp focus on weakening the Kremlin’s war machine through aggressive export control measures but our teams in Kyiv and in Washington are engaged in constant business development campaigns to support the commercial linkages that bring our countries closer together. 

As we move forward, please do not hesitate to engage with our staff on how we can best facilitate private-sector partnerships that will serve as the bedrock for the future expansion of U.S.-Ukraine ties. 

I look forward to continued discussion at tomorrow’s U.S.-Ukraine Business Council event. 



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