GENEVA — The World Trade Organization approved Ukraine's entry package on Tuesday, paving the way for the former Soviet-bloc nation to join the global trade body after 14 years of talks.
"Ukraine crossed the line in the process of integration to the global economic and trade environment," Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko told reporters after initialing the agreement.
Yushchenko said WTO entry would have a cumulative effect on the economy of Ukraine, boost the consumption of its 45.5 million citizens by 10 percent, generate a 1.7 percent increase in gross domestic product and boost foreign direct investment by $3.5 billion.
Trade liberalization efforts encompassed in the accord are also expected to increase annual exports by 10 percent, or $4 billion, he noted. In 2006, Ukraine's merchandise exports totaled $38.3 billion and its imports totaled $45 billion, according to a WTO report.
The nation's average tariff for industrial goods is 4.95 percent, according to the WTO, but in some industrial product lines is as high as 25 percent. But, upon joining the WTO, Ukraine has agreed to scrap all duties for a range of industrial goods, including certain chemicals, fabrics and yarns. This includes staple viscose fibers, polyesters and certain woven fabrics containing high tenacity yarn.
Some kinds of bonded wool and fine animal hair fabrics will have duties set at 5 percent, and cut corduroy and terry toweling will have 8 percent tariffs. A 12 percent tariff has been set for many apparel items, including overcoats, anoraks, women's and girls' suits, jackets and blazers, cotton or synthetic dresses, wool or cotton trousers, men's or boys cotton shirts, T-shirts and pajamas.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said, "The inclusion in the WTO of such a large, fast-growing economy will benefit U.S. businesses, workers, farmers, ranchers and consumers. We look forward to building a broader, deeper trade and investment relationship with Ukraine."
Ukraine will become a WTO member 30 days after it has notified the global body that it has ratified the entry package. If it completes its ratification ahead of Cape Verde, which successfully finished its entry talks on Dec. 18, it will become the 152nd WTO member.
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