A glass of Moldovan sparkling wine in hand, Secretary Kerry today toasted the strong U.S.-Moldovan partnership, which has helped the country along its path to European integration, reform, expanded trade and economic development.
“To the friendship and partnership between Moldova and the United States. To the new spring of prosperity and opportunity,” said Secretary Kerry, who was joined in a Moldovan sparkling wine toast by Prime Minister Iurie Leanca.
Secretary Kerry’s stop in Chisinau – the first time in 22 years that a U.S. Secretary of State has visited the Republic of Moldova – comes at a critical time for Moldova, which declared its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, but remains an emerging democracy and one of Europe’s most economically disadvantaged countries. Moldova on Nov. 29 initialed an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
The Secretary met with Moldovan government leaders, including President Nicolae Timofti, Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman, at the Presidential Residence downtown, then traveled to Cricova Winery, north of the capital, and addressed the press and others gathered at a networking event of Moldovan business leaders and representatives of American companies in Moldova and Romania.
At that event, the Secretary officially unveiled a new wine marketing logo, developed in assistance with USAID, and announced a reverse trade mission in which the U.S. will send Moldovan winemakers to the United States to learn ways to break into the American market.
The Secretary noted that the strong partnership the U.S. and Moldova have been building during the past two decades has paid dividends. Moldova likely will be able to sign fully onto the AA and DCFTA by next fall, and the EU has indicated further that Moldova may obtain a liberalized visa regime in 2014 that would allow its citizens to travel more freely in the EU. Since Moldovan independence, the U.S. government has spent $1.1 billion on assistance programs that have helped reform government institutions and regulation, build civil society and infrastructure, fight corruption, and put the country on a path to a market economy.
Moldovan leaders expressed gratitude to Secretary Kerry, saying his visit was very important to the country’s continued development and European integration. The Secretary’s visit has garnered widespread and favorable media coverage.
About the Author: Brent Israelsen serves as Assistant Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova.