KYIV, Ukraine, January 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Once the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine is signed, Kyiv's request to raise the WTO tariff ceilings for 371 goods wouldn't matter for the EU countries, stated Kostyantyn Yeliseyev, Ukraine's ambassador to the EU, in his interview with Interfax. "The document envisages all of the respective terms of trade between Kyiv and Brussels, including tariffs and quotas," said the official.
Signing and application of the Association Agreement with the EU will help unblock the 371 issue, said Yeliseyev. The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU regulates national treatment and market access to goods, provides for elimination of customs duties, fees and other charges for a number of products, as stated in an unofficial draft of the agreement, published by kyivweekly.com.ua. The Association Agreement introduces trade remedies (safeguard measures, anti-dumping and countervailing measures, etc.), encouraging for them to impose the least possible influence on bilateral trade.
In September 2012, Ukraine informed its WTO trading partners about the intent to renegotiate maximum tariffs on a wide range of imported goods. If implemented, the measure would concern USD 4.6 billion worth of total Ukrainian import (as of 2011), informed Reuters. Previously, tariff ceiling renegotiation within the WTO was rare and involved a much smaller range of goods. Some experts fear Ukraine's move might cause a wave of protectionist measures worldwide.
The EU, along with other WTO members, expressed concern over Ukraine's bid to raise tariffs. Kyiv reasoned their actions by deepening economic problems within the country. In May 2012, Ukraine was reportedly contemplating safeguard measures to protect the car manufacturing industry.
Interestingly, Article 44 of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU provides for the right of Ukraine to apply safeguard measures "in the form of a higher import duty on passenger cars originating from the EU" should certain conditions be met.
Ukraine joined the WTO in 2008, having applied for membership in 1993. The organization defines itself as "a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements" and includes 157 members. Joining the WTO, Ukraine made commitments on goods (tariffs, quotas, ceilings) and services (agreeing to give "access to foreign service providers on a non-discriminatory basis"). Wto.org lists the EC, Russia, Turkey, Belarus, and the U.S. as Ukraine's main trading partners.
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