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Joint Statement on the United States-Ukraine Trade and Investment Relationship

07/31/2012

Washington, D.C. – Today, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovsky released the following joint statement outlining the results of the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Trade and Investment Council (TIC) in Washington, D.C.:

At today’s Trade and Investment Council meeting, we reviewed a wide range of issues, including intellectual property rights, the investment climate, bilateral trade irritants, taxation, agriculture, customs, aviation, and space.

We discussed the importance to each country of greater progress on the 2010 IPR Action Plan for protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). The United States supported Ukraine’s commitment to redouble efforts, especially those identified in the Action Plan, to implement protections that benefit both Ukrainian and American inventors and creators. The United States also hailed Ukraine’s planned increase in intellectual property inspectors, as called for in the 2010 IPR Action Plan, as well as its adoption of a new Customs Code intended to improve customs valuation procedures.

We also took a crucial step towards enhancing our trade and investment relationship by establishing a Trade Experts Group to facilitate discussion of trade, investment, and commercial issues at a working level. Through regular meetings, the Trade Experts Group will make it easier to achieve more rapid resolution of trade, investment, and commercial issues between the Parties.

We discussed the situation surrounding Ukraine’s refunds of VAT to American companies. Taking note of Ukraine’s increase in payments of VAT arrears to U.S. companies since 2011, the United States welcomed the Ukrainian government’s commitment to pay outstanding, and future, VAT refunds in a more timely and easier manner, according to the recent legislation. We also discussed Ukraine’s new automatic VAT refund system and took positive note of Ukraine’s commitment to make it more transparent and applicable to more companies.

In light of the potential for economic growth in both countries, we agreed to continue cooperation to increase bilateral trade and to remove trade barriers between them. Our teams also discussed regulatory, scientific and technical cooperation in agriculture and ways to promote the expansion of trade relations in agriculture and food industry.

Additionally, we discussed civil aviation, including Ukraine’s ratification of the Cape Town Convention, which will increase Ukraine’s ability to finance the purchase of aircraft and related equipment. We noted the FAA's Technical Review, which will help in determining the Ukraine's progress in making the necessary technical changes to achieve compliance with international standards. The Technical Review is another step toward the Ukrainian goal of having its airlines operate flights more frequently to the United States and enter into code sharing arrangements with American air carriers. Once all of the necessary actions have been completed, additional discussions would occur regarding any future assessment under the International Aviation Safety Assessment program. During the meeting, we also emphasized the prospects for bilateral cooperation in research and implementation of commercial projects in space.

Recognizing the Government of Ukraine’s desire to encourage foreign investment and its efforts to improve its standing in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, we examined some of the systemic issues that have affected the business climate in Ukraine.

Both countries today agreed to hold the Fifth Session of the Council in Kyiv at a date to be determined.

Background

The U.S.-Ukraine commercial relationship has developed significantly in the past several years. After Ukraine’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2008, Ukraine and the United States signed the United States-Ukraine Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement (TICA) in the same year. The TICA established the TIC as the principal mechanism for the two countries to work to enhance and broaden their trade relationship. It is the primary forum for discussion of trade and investment relations between the two countries.