Simultaneously with the sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong a regular parliamentary session is underway. The meeting of almost 300 deputies from 140 countries opened on December 12 and is to last through December 15.

As Ukraine's delegate to the parliamentary session, people's deputy Ihor Ostash told Ukrinform, the session is vetting problems, which the WTO is faced, very promptly and openly.

As he stressed, all the leaders of the organization, including WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, started their work in Hong Kong from the parliamentary conference, where they were "strictly interrogated" by different deputies.

First what Ihor Ostash noticed during the 6th Ministerial Conference was, "unfortunately, Ukraine's sitting in the last line, behind it only observers and public organizations are sitting", Such status doesn't allow us to really influence the negotiation process within the WTO, rules of game, assert its interests.

According to the Ukrainian deputy, it hampers our forwarding not only to the world market, but also to the European one.

The current conference, in Ihor Ostash's opinion, is a good chance to meet with other states' delegations, with whom protocols are left to be signed. As never before it is important for Ukraine to sign a protocol with China, which has already initialed it and the two sides are very close to its signing, the deputy hopes.

Talking about internal procedures in Ukraine, Ihor Ostash stressed on the need to seriously consider the position by the Verkhovna Rada, which often fell under powerful lobby of deputies, "combining two positions".

He urged to view this problem in a larger context, as Ukraine's membership in the WTO switches on "green light" to serious investments to the Ukrainian economy, means significant reduction in anti-dumping investigations, decreasing import duties for Ukrainian goods, provides many opportunities for Ukrainian goods' access to foreign markets, including the markets of textile, steel and chemicals.

It is strange watching such phenomena, when Ukrainian steel makers are trying to establish their associations for protection of their interests within the framework of the EU, while deputies, who represent metallurgical regions, actually oppose Ukraine's accession to the WTO, Ihor Ostash added.

As he reminded, presently, there is the last in the parcel of the WTO bills on the Verkhovna Rada's agenda (some of them have been passed in first reading).

According to Mr Ostash, considering these matters is very politicized and there is "a very tall wall between the Government and the parliament, which appeared after first consideration of the WTO bills and, unfortunately, has not yet disappeared".

This fact threatens passing the WTO bills in time and Ukraine may lose one more chance to complete negotiations on accedence to the WTO in early 2006.


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