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Ukraine finalizes its readiness assessment and start work with donors on implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

In November 2015, Ukraine's parliament took steps to ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA). This coincided with the finalization of an assessment of Ukraine’s readiness to implement this agreement. On 19 November, UNECE, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the Interagency Working Group on Trade Facilitation and Logistics of Ukraine organized, in Kiev, a concluding seminar on this readiness assessment. During the seminar, UNECE, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) of Ukraine presented to the donor community and Ukrainian stakeholders the findings of two readiness assessment reports: one prepared by the UNECE and UNCTAD and the other by USAID, as well as a list of requests for assistance by the Ukrainian regulatory agencies. Both reports will be published. The Commercial Law Development Programme (CLDP) of the U.S. Department of Justice also contributed to the organization of the seminar.

The seminar contributed concrete proposals to the coordination of technical assistance for the implementation of the WTO TFA. The development partners participating in the seminar – USAID, UNECE, CLDP, the EU Border Assistance Mission to Ukraine and Moldova (EUBAM), the World Bank, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), UK Customs  – expressed sincere satisfaction with this donor coordination, which is a complex issue in a country facing complex economic and political issues.  A number of areas were already identified where these development partners would be ready to assist Ukraine (including some WTO TFA measures that the Government had notified as category A - Under the WTO TFA, when a country declares a measure as category A, it must be implemented at the time when the Agreement enters into force (i.e. when two thirds of WTO members will have ratified the agreement).

The seminar recommended to: 

  • Assist Ukraine in building its institutional capacity to implement the TFA, including training regulatory agency staff and methodological assistance for planning implementation (in terms of timeline and budgets).
  • Focus, as a top priority, on implementing measures notified by the Government as category A on 1 August 2014, but for which no or inadequate capacity for implementation was identified in the UNECE-UNCTAD and USAID reports, as well as the conclusions of the UNECE and CLDP seminars. These problematic areas are: publication of laws, forms, procedures, etc.; publication on the Internet; pre-arrival processing; trade facilitation measures for Authorized Economic Operators; trade facilitation for perishable goods; border agency cooperation; and establishing a national trade facilitation committee.
  • Use the findings of the UNECE-UNCTAD and USAID reports, and relevant seminar conclusions, as the basis for the Government’s notification to the WTO secretariat of those measures under the TFA which should be  categorized as B (i.e. for which Ukraine would need more time for implementation) and C (for which Ukraine would need both more time and international technical assistance).
  • Create a mechanism for ongoing coordination between international development partners and the involvement of new ones. 

The seminar also emphasized the need for the Cabinet of Ministers to officially appoint a national agency to be responsible for coordinating the implementation of the WTO TFA, and developing a work programme for this implementation, including the establishment of a National Trade Facilitation Committee, using as a foundation the Interagency Working Group on Trade Facilitation and Logistics.

As the next steps in its own support to Ukraine, the UNECE is evaluating the possibilities for providing capacity building on: the use of international standards (WTO TFA article 10.3); the Single Window (article 10.4); an action plan for the National Trade Facilitation Committee (article 23.2); and the development of a national strategy for trade facilitation.

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