October 7, 2022
Madam Bashkan Vlah, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the invitation to speak at the 8th Gagauzia International Investment Forum. This is a great opportunity to meet with local businesses and to learn more about Gagauzia’s investment and development potential.
The United States values the diverse array of partnerships we have throughout Moldova – and we want increased development in Moldova including Gagauzia. We invest in your success through a diverse and comprehensive assistance program. This year, the United States and Moldova are celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations, and it was great to see Bashkan Vlah at the celebration of 30 years of friendship with USAID last month. Over the past three decades, we have worked with Moldova on the path to building a country that is secure, democratic, and prosperous which has included over $1.8 billion in foreign aid to Moldova from the American people since 1992.
USAID assistance programs have supported strengthening Gagauzia’s economic growth, expanded on its tourism potential, promoted trade digitization, and helped Gagauzian wine producers improve production and increase exports. In May, I opened the Tekwill Comrat ICT Excellence Center. This ICT Excellence Center will help create jobs in Gagauzia and attract more investment through providing ICT education and training for the local workforce and encouraging businesses to improve and engage in innovative new technologies.
In the agriculture sector, USAID’s High Value Agriculture Activity (HVAA) has provided assistance to Gagauzian agribusinesses operating in the fruit, table grape, wine, and honey sectors. This includes support related to production, post-harvest handling, international standards on good agricultural and food safety practices, and capacity building of the local agricultural association. Later today, I will be launching the follow on activity to this initiative, and look forward to continuing USAID investments in Gagauzia to build on this success. I’m sure we have all tried Gagauzian wine and know the high quality of your producers. Our assistance helps increase the competitiveness of Gagauzian agribusinesses and wineries and helps them access the European Union and other non-traditional markets.
Last month, I was excited to welcome the American-Central European Business Association delegation of ten U.S. companies in its first ever trip to Moldova. We welcomed a spectrum of American investors in industries from ICT to defense to renewable energy. We are excited about the path Moldova is paving in working to improve its rule of law, which, as we all know, is the foundation for greater international investment. American businesses see potential in Moldova, and the United States is excited to walk this path with you as Moldova develops systems necessary to capitalize on its investment potential.
I look forward to visiting and meeting with your business community in the near future.