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Wednesday, July 17, 2002
EU officials mark progress in talks about Ukraine's access to WTO


European Union officials reported progress Wednesday in negotiations with the Ukrainian government about the former Soviet republic's accession to the World Trade Organization. "It's clear that economic reforms are going in Ukraine, but it's obvious that in Ukraine everything cannot be perfect," said Gustavo Prada, head of the EU's unit for trade analysis...

Prada spoke after a meeting of the joint EU-Ukrainian commission in Kiev, whose agenda included Ukraine's trade with European countries, cooperation in steel and agricultural sectors, Ukraine's economic status and its bids to join the EU and the WTO.

Prada said that Ukraine's accession to the WTO "depends on how quickly Ukraine's government wants to adapt its legislation to the WTO standards."

He urged the government to implement the existing laws, especially in the sphere of copyright protection.

The United States has accused Ukraine of failing to stop the illegal production of tens of millions of CDs, which the U.S. record industry estimates costs it some dlrs 200 million annually. Seeking to pressure Ukraine to eradicate CD piracy, the U.S. imposed trade sanctions in January, restricting textile, steel and other metal exports.

The Ukrainian parliament adopted new legislation to combat CD piracy, but problems persist as the law is not fully implemented.

Prada said that trade between Ukraine and EU countries rose by 78 percent since 2000, but expressed concerns over low foreign investments.

The commission is expected to further develop its recommendations and present them to an intergovernmental meeting of EU and Ukrainian officials in Brussels in November, said Andriy Honcharuk, deputy state secretary of the Economy Ministry.

"The conclusion is that we have a good growing relationship," Prada said.

Ukraine's economy suffered significant decline since independence in 1991. The first growth appeared in 2000. The Ukrainian government hopes to enter the WTO by the end of 2003 and become an EU associate member within 10 years.


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