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UNECE helps Ukraine devise strategy to implement WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Import and export operations in Ukraine take 28 and 29 days respectively and most of the time goes to document preparation. Facilitating trade by removing bureaucratic and regulatory barriers in Ukraine is an urgent task.

Implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement is, therefore, key to boosting Ukraine’s economic development, but Ukraine will need to establish a national trade facilitation body and develop a trade facilitation strategy to reap these benefits. These were the preliminary findings of a survey on the implementation readiness of trade regulatory agencies in the country, run by UNECE and presented at a seminar in Kiev on 28 April.  

The survey indicated that not all agencies and their staff are familiar with the principles underlying the Agreement and the challenges for its implementation. Frequent turnover of staff due to political and economic changes in Ukraine have contributed to this situation.

The seminar’s recommendations, which will be sent to government officials in Ukraine, indicated that a key priority should be ensuring the timely implementation of those measures that Ukraine has already notified to the WTO as ready for implementation as soon as the agreement comes into force.  Some of these commitments were considered to be problematic by private and public sector experts attending the seminar. All involved government agencies need to focus on defining which trade facilitation measures in their sphere of competence would require more time for implementation or external support. On this basis, government agencies should focus on establishing clear action plans, with timelines and budgets, to be included in a national strategic plan for trade facilitation.

The seminar was attended by UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach and by experts from UNCTAD, WTO and representatives of development partners (Sweden, the World Bank, ITC, and USAID).

The Ukrainian Interagency Working Group on trade facilitation and logistics requested UNECE to continue working with international and national experts on the finalization of the report on Ukraine’s readiness to implement the measures in the WTO Agreement, based on further interviews and analyses. The Group will also work further with the Government of Ukraine in order to establish a mechanism for monitoring the status of implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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