March 7th, 2006 07:03 EST
U.S., Ukraine Sign WTO-Related Agreement
WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Ukrainian Minister of Economy Arseniy Yatsenyuk today formally signed a bilateral agreement on market access issues as part of Ukraine's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession negotiations. The bilateral agreement will create significant opportunities for U.S. producers and exporters of industrial and agricultural goods and well as U.S. services providers. This agreement is a major step towards Ukraine's completion of its accession negotiations.
"Ukraine's commitment to broad-based reform and economic liberalization will provide a welcoming environment for investment, both foreign and domestic. The agreement also demonstrates Ukraine's commitment to the international trading system," said Ambassador Portman.
"U.S. support for Ukraine's accession to the WTO goes back more than a decade, and we are pleased to have reached this agreement. Trade Minister Yatsenyuk and his team have worked tirelessly this last year. We will be working with Ukraine and other WTO members in Geneva on the remaining multilateral issues to finalize Ukraine's terms of accession to the WTO," Portman said.
"In November, the U.S. Senate approved a bill terminating application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to Ukraine. I look forward to working with the U.S. Congress on such legislation that can be sent to President George W. Bush for signature," Portman added.
Ukraine's tariff commitments in the agreement include eventual duty free entry of information technology, e.g., computers and semiconductors, and aircraft products and harmonization of tariffs on chemical imports at very low or zero rates of duty.
U.S. service providers will benefit in particular from more open access in the areas of energy services, branching in banking and insurance, professional services, express delivery, and telecommunications, among others.
The bilateral agreement also addressed concerns related to specific sanitary and phytosanitary measures of priority to U.S. exporters, shelf-life standards, protection of undisclosed information for pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals (as required by the WTO), imports of information technology products with encryption, the operation of state owned firms based on commercial considerations, and reduction of export duties on non-ferrous and steel scrap.
Congressional action is necessary to terminate application of Jackson-Vanik to Ukraine. This will clear the way for the two countries to apply the WTO Agreement between them when Ukraine becomes a WTO member.
Source: US State Dept.