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Most WTO members opposed to Ukraine raising customs duties

October 05, 2012, 7:19 UTC+3
The Russian negotiator described Kiev’s proposal to revise the rates of duties at once on 350 commodities as “an interesting case”
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GENEVA, October 5 (Itar-Tass) — Most members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) deem unacceptable Ukraine’s decision to raise the maximum rate of customs duty on 350 kinds of goods, Head of the Trade Negotiations Department of the Russian Economic Development Ministry Maxim Medvedkov told Itar-Tass on Friday, commenting on a meeting of the WTO General Council that has recently ended. Russia has for the first time taken part in it as a full-fledged member.

According to Medvedkov, the decision on raising the duties was not supported at the WTO General Council meeting because “it is unprecedented and leads to corrosion of Ukraine’s obligations and therefore is acceptable.”

The Russian negotiator described Kiev’s proposal to revise the rates of duties at once on 350 commodities as “an interesting case.” “Formally, Ukraine, as well as any WTO member may revise their tariff commitments. But the WTO has the rules and has also the practice. And in practice, the maximum number of tariff lines that have ever been reviewed under this procedure (revision of tariff commitments under Article 18 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) has not exceed ten,” Medvedkov said. He stressed that even this figure was an exception to the rule, as usually there was revision of 1-2 tariff items.

“The fact that our Ukrainian colleagues have moved to revise a considerable portion of their customs tariffs has raised the question of many WTO members - where does it lead?” the representative of the RF Ministry of Economic Development said. According to him, it is not clear so far by what Kiev will compensate the planned tariff increase on such a wide range of goods. “The tariff commitments’ revision is not "a one-way street" case. And if the country wants to raise some duty it must pay for it with the lowering of by some other rate,” Medvedkov said.

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