Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council

U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 10, 2008

WASHINGTON - The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), on
behalf of its members, congratulates Ukraine on the vote in the Parliament
today to ratify the Protocol on Ukraine's accession to the World Trade
Organization. 411 lawmakers, registered in the chamber, voted in favor.


Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), Kiev, Ukraine, Thu, April 10, 2008

KIEV - Ukraine's parliament on Thursday gave its approval to entering the
World Trade Organization, giving a decisive victory to reform politicians in
the former Soviet republic. The national legislature the Verhovna Rada in a
rare show of agreement between its pro-Europe and pro-Russia factions,
voted 411 in favour of the measure, out of 449 legislators present.

The only opponents of WTO membership was the minority Communist party
and a few left-wing independents, who abstained from casting ballots.

The vote was a dramatic success for the thin pro-Europe majority currently
in control of Ukraine's government, which for months had failed to push
approval of the WTO through the legislature, in the face of the pro-Russia

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, the leader of the pro-Europe faction,
had repeatedly promised he would sign the bill into law as soon as
parliament approved it.

Ukraine began the application process to join the WTO in 1992. The WTO
formally offered Ukraine membership in February.

The Thursday Ukrainian parliament vote thus removed the last practical
barrier to Ukrainian membership in the WTO, a top goal of the Yushchenko
administration since coming to power in 2005.

The terms of the agreement just approved by parliament stipulate Ukraine
will become a full-fledged WTO member within one month of Yushchenko's
signing the WTO bill into Ukrainian law.

WTO officials had said that they were confident the WTO governing board
would give final approval to Ukrainian membership no later than July 4,
provided Ukraine's parliament approved the treaty and Yushchenko signed
off on the legislation.

Ukraine will pay the WTO some 420 million dollars in annual membership
fees, the Interfax news agency reported.

Ukrainian membership in the WTO is widely expected to expand access to
international markets for Ukrainian industrial producers, but the degree of
probable expansion is disputed by economists in the country.

Ukraine's economy is heavily dependant on export, particularly of metals,
chemicals, machinery, and agricultural products. Many of its retail markets
are protected by tariff barriers which, once Ukrainian WTO membership
becomes a reality, must be removed from the books.

Some observers have questioned whether WTO membership would increase
Ukrainian exports substantially, as the most valuable potential market still
practically closed to Ukrainian products - Europe - will remain inaccessible
in the near future due to European Union excise barriers.

But Ukrainian pro-government spokesmen have argued WTO membership
will make retail goods substantially cheaper in Ukraine due to increased
domestic competition - a critically-needed development given the country's
current 17.3 per cent annual inflation.

Trade implications aside, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has long been keen on
WTO membership as any WTO member may veto a new applicant: an ability
Kiev diplomats hope would give leverage against Russia, a WTO non-member
targeting Ukraine for repeated energy price hikes in recent years, because
of worsening relations between Kiev and Moscow.


UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 10, 2008

KYIV - The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Parliament) has ratified the Protocol
on Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization. According to an
UNIAN correspondent, 411 lawmakers, registered in the chamber, have voted
for this.

In particular, the protocol was supported by 72 MPs of OU-PSD faction, 155 -
of BYuT faction, 20 MPs from the Lytvyn's Bloc, 164 MPs of the Party of
Regions. Communist faction MPs abstained from voting.

The parliament also commissioned the Cabinet of Ministers to adopt a plan of measures to bring the Ukrainian economics in compliance with the WTO

After Ukraine has become the WTO member, it will pay an annual member fee. The volume of the annual WTO member fee to the WTO budget is determined on the basis of methodological recommendations of the WTO Committee for Budget and Financing, and depends on the external trade volume of a country. In addition to the annual fee, Ukraine will also have to make a one-time contribution to the WTO working fund.