USTR - USTR Portman Applauds Swift Passage of Ukraine Bill in House
                 
The Office of the United States Trade Representative

USTR Portman Applauds Swift Passage of Ukraine Bill in House
03/08/2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman today thanked the House of Representatives for its swift passage of H.R. 1053 –to authorize the extension of normal trade relations treatment to the products of Ukraine.

"Just two days ago, Ukrainian Minister Yatensyuk and I formally signed a bilateral agreement between our two countries. Today, the House acted swiftly and decisively to terminate Jackson-Vanik for Ukraine," said Ambassador Portman.

"I appreciate this rapid and bipartisan effort. It sends a positive and strong signal to our Ukrainian partners who have instituted reforms that increase transparency, provide greater intellectual property protections and stronger enforcement of the rule of law," Portman added.

Background

On March 6, 2006, USTR Portman and Ukrainian Minister of Economy Arseniy Yatsenyuk formally signed a bilateral agreement on market access issues as part of Ukraine’s WTO accession. This agreement is a major step toward Ukraine’s completion of its accession negotiations.

Ukraine has been negotiating its terms of accession to the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), and then to the WTO, since 1994. Ukraine is still negotiating bilateral market access agreements with a few remaining countries. To complete its accession bid, Ukraine must complete those bilateral market access negotiations and also the multilateral negotiations on a Working Party Report and Protocol of Accession. Ukraine is also still in the process of enacting legislation that will enable it to apply WTO provisions after its accession.

Congressional action is necessary to terminate application of Jackson-Vanik to Ukraine. This step clears the way for the two countries to apply the WTO Agreement between them when Ukraine becomes a WTO member. Since revenue measures must originate in the House of Representatives, the Senate will need to take action on H.R. 1053. The Senate approved S. 632 – a similar measure – on November 18, 2005.

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