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Ukraine Urged To Honor WTO Tariff Pledges

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

03 December 2012

Among matters raised at the latest meeting of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods, 23 delegations issued a joint statement urging Ukraine to abandon plans to comprehensively renegotiate the tariff commitments it made in return for membership of the global trade body in May 2008.

The nations' joint declaration is in response to Ukraine's notification that it would seek to renegotiate trade taxes in place on 371 tariff lines. The declaration contends that the extent to which Ukraine is seeking to renegotiate its WTO accession terms is beyond the scope of the WTO provision on tariff negotiations (Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994).

It is feared that Ukraine will not be able to adequately compensate WTO members for the changes being sought, as required by that provision, and the declaration expressed concern about Ukraine's lack of transparency on the matter. Egypt, Uruguay, Mexico, El Salvador, Israel, China, Dominican Republic, Peru and Pakistan supported the statement.

In response, representatives from Ukraine said the nation was following the established procedures in a transparent manner, and they contended that its notification had been normal practice and should not be seen as protectionist. The Ukraine said it had held meetings on the matter with many delegations, and it assured that it intended to continue the negotiations to agree reciprocal benefits for WTO members.

Also at the meeting, the European Union (EU) expressed concern over what it described as a surge of protectionist measures taken recently by Russia. It criticized two measures in particular: the ban on importation of live animals; and the recycling fee for automobiles, which imposes fees on imported cars but gives a choice of non-payment to domestic cars. The EU said it had entered into consultations with Russia on these measures.

TAGS: Russia | tax | law | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | agreements | trade disputes | trade | Ukraine

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