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UNECE helps Ukraine prepare for the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation

Ukraine will have to accelerate implementation of some key trade facilitation measures in order to comply with its obligations before the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement after two thirds of WTO members ratify it. The ambition of the WTO management is to reach this stage by the end of the year.   

On 1 August 2014, Ukraine notified to the WTO those measures that they considered to be category A, which means that Ukraine will have them implemented by the date of entry into force of the Agreement.  These measures now have to be given high priority because the categorization submitted to WTO cannot be changed and Ukraine needs to undertake further work in order to have all of these measures in place on time. Examples of some measures requiring additional work include: publication of all trade-related laws, forms, procedures, and other relevant information; publication on the Internet; pre-arrival processing; facilitation measures for authorized operators; processing perishable goods, and border agency cooperation.

These were identified in a readiness assessment performed by UNECE, UNCTAD and the US Commercial Law Development Programme (CLDP), and validated at a 3-day workshop in Kiev (30 September-2 October), organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine and the Interagency Working Group on Trade Facilitation and Logistics of Ukraine.

The assessment built upon UNECE’s decades of experience in trade facilitation; UNCTAD’s expertise in helping countries with self-assessments to implement this Agreement; as well as CLDP’s know-how in assisting countries with commercial law development.

Ukraine will already need to initiate action on these priority areas, probably with urgent assistance from donors. In addition, the workshop discussed and issued recommendations for the categorization of the remaining measures including; measures for which the country would need more time to implement (category B measures according to the Agreement); and measures for which the country would need both more time and international technical and financial assistance (category C measures). These recommendations will be taken into account by the Ukrainian Government as it defines its notifications to the WTO on category B and C measures.

Using the information provided in the report and at the validation workshop, some regulatory agencies already started preparing requests for assistance. UNCTAD, CLDP and UNECE will relay this information to potential donors and will support implementation projects as resources for their implementation becomes available. Consequently, a meeting with donors is scheduled for 19 November 2015 in Kiev to present the findings of the UNECE-sponsored report, recommendations from a CLDP seminar earlier this year, and a USAID report on legal conformity with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

For more information:

Mario Apostolov, Regional Adviser, UNECE Trade, tel.: +41 22 9171134, e-mail: mario.apostolov@unece.org