U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst welcomed the signature in Washington on March 6 by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Ukrainian Minister of Economy Arseniy Yatsenyuk of a bilateral agreement on market access as part of Ukraine’s World Trade Organization (WTO) accession negotiations, press office of United States Embassy in Ukraine reports.

"This agreement marks significant progress on a number of the top issues on our bilateral trade agenda, as targeted by President Bush and President Yushchenko in the New Century Agenda for the Ukrainian-American Strategic Partnership 2005," Ambassador Herbst said. "Ukraine's trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) were restored on January 23. Ukraine achieved market-economy status on February 1, which U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary David Sampson announced February 17 during his visit to Kyiv. The March 6 bilateral agreement paves the way for Ukraine to complete its WTO accession negotiations, which will would open up potentially vast opportunities for local businesses and attract major companies to Ukraine," Herbst explained. "U.S. producers and exporters will benefit from more open access to Ukraine's industrial, agricultural, and services markets," Herbst added.

Ukraine's WTO accession is a top priority for the U.S. and Ukraine. Membership in the WTO demonstrates a country's commitment to conducting economic relations under a common rules-based system. U.S. investors will enjoy increased transparency and gain enhanced security in critical service and other industries. WTO accession will help expand Ukraine's markets, and increase investors’ confidence that Ukraine has met international standards of economic openness and fairness.

As Ukraine takes steps to adopt WTO rules by modernizing and rationalizing laws and regulatory standards for trade, its economy is benefiting. The growth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ukraine hit a record high of $7.3 billion in 2005. A reduction of import tariffs in 2005 helped reduce both prices and the incidence of smuggling for a number of consumer goods.


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