Ukraine urged to drop car and fridge import duties

10:17, 24 June 2009
Ukraine
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But the European Union...

Ukraine faced pressure at the World Trade Organisation on Tuesday to drop tariffs on imported cars and refrigerators which it imposed in response to the global economic crisis, according to Reuters.

WTO rules allow governments to restrict imports temporarily if they have balance of payments problems.

But the European Union, Japan, China, the United States, Turkey, Canada, Colombia and Argentina all spoke out against the 13 percent surcharge which Kiev has said it intends to keep in place until September.

"Most of them considered that the situation is not critical and does not warrant or justify the imposition of restrictions," an official who attended the balance of payments committee said.

The strongest criticism came from the EU, which said the surcharge was a clearly protectionist manoeuvre meant to help Ukraine`s domestic production of cars and refrigerators, and not shield its entire economy at an acute moment.

Negotiations will continue on the topic on Thursday.

The balance of payments committee failed to reach agreement in a parallel set of talks in April over import restrictions proposed by Ecuador, which Quito also said were necessary because of the global downturn.

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