WTO panel says Ukraine import surcharges unjustified

10:56, 26 June 2009
Ukraine
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The balance of...

A World Trade Organisation committee told Ukraine on Thursday to drop its 13 percent surcharge on imported cars and refrigerators by Sept. 7 at the latest, and preferably by mid-July, according to Reuters.

The balance of payments panel said the surcharge imposed by Kiev in March in response to the global economic crisis was not justified under WTO rules, which allow governments to restrict imports temporarily if they have balance of payments problems.

"Ukraine agreed to eliminate the measures no later than 7 September, as set out by the legislation, to firmly endeavour to eliminate them by mid July," a trade official said after the closed-door talks.

Earlier this week, the European Union, Japan, China, the United States, Turkey, Canada, Colombia and Argentina all spoke out against the 13 percent surcharge. [ID:nLN903121]

The strongest criticism came from Brussels, which said it was clearly a protectionist manoeuvre meant to help Ukraine`s domestic production of cars and refrigerators and not a measure aimed at shielding its entire economy at an acute moment.

Ukraine joined the WTO last year.l

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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