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Economic organisations
18 December 2019 16:26

The Path of Ukraine into the WTO

In accordance with Article XII of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, an accession to the WTO is being carried out on terms to be agreed upon between the government of an applying country and the WTO.

The process of Ukraine’s accession to the WTO started on 30th of November 1993 with forwarding the official application of the Government of Ukraine on its intention to join the Organisation to the GATT Secretariat.

There had been 17 formal meetings and a succession of informal meetings of the Working Party for consideration of the application of Ukraine for the accession to the WTO. At the last meeting, held on January 25, 2008, members of the Working Party adopted the «accession package» of Ukraine: the Report of the Working Party, the schedules of specific market access commitments of Ukraine in goods and services, a draft decision of the WTO General Council and a draft Protocol of Accession.

On February 5, 2008, the accession package was considered and approved by the WTO General Council. The President of Ukraine and Director General of the WTO signed the Protocol of Accession of Ukraine to the WTO.

On April 10, 2008, the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine approved the Law of Ukraine No. 250-VI «On Ratification of the Protocol of Accession of Ukraine to the World Trade Organization».

On April 16, 2008, the President of Ukraine signed the Law on the ratification of the Protocol and at the same day the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine sent an official notification about this to the WTO. Starting from that day, the countdown of the 30 days, i.e. the official period from the notification to the membership in the WTO, started.

On May 16, 2008, Ukraine became the 152nd member of the World Trade Organization.

Ukraine’s WTO accession is a significant achievement, which is expected to have a positive impact on the country’s economic development in the future and result in further liberalization of the foreign trade, creation of transparent business environment for foreign investments.

Ukraine implements all its accession commitments, as contained in the Protocol on Ukraine’s accession to the WTO, as well as takes an active part in the current Doha Development Agenda negotiations aiming at facilitating integration of other countries into the world economy.

To find the general information on the history of establishment, directions and principles of activity of the WTO please visit the WTO web-site

On 25 June 1992, eleven countries of the Black Sea region signed the Istanbul Declaration on the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which defined the general framework of this intergovernmental initiative.

The Charter of the Organisation was signed at Yalta BSEC Summit of Heads of State and Government on June 5, 1998. It came into force on May 1, 1999, converting this intergovernmental cooperation initiative into a full-bodied international regional organisation.

The Organisation is composed of twelve member states: Albania, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

The following institutional bodies are actively functioning within the BSEC Organisation: the Parliamentary Assembly (PABSEC), Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), Business Council and the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS). These bodies operate in compliance with principles, laid down in the Istanbul Declaration and the BSEC Charter, as well as their own statutory documents. In order to develop closer cooperation, there are coordination meetings being held from time to time within the framework of the BSEC bodies at the participation of presiding country and the heads of secretariats of the mentioned bodies.

According to the Charter, the member states interact in the following areas: trade and economic development, finance and banking, communications, energy, transport, agriculture, health care and pharmacy, environment protection, tourism, science and technology, culture, statistic data and economic information exchange, customs cooperation, humanitarian contacts, combating organised crime, etc.

The BSEC Charter stipulates for a rotating six-month chairmanship, undertaken by the member states in alphabetical order. During this period Minister of Foreign Affairs of a member state chairing the Organisation coordinates all the BSEC activities and ensures proper management as well as execution of resolutions and decisions taken. In case if a member state waives its chairmanship, it is automatically delegated to another country according to the alphabetical order.

In 2001 the «Economic Agenda for the BSEC» was adopted by the member states, which was in fact a joint strategy aimed at achievement of specific results and goals of the BSEC.

The main decision-making standing body of the BSEC is the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (CMFA). It meets twice a year at the end of the chairmanship of a member state. The Council decides on all maters relating to the operation of the Organisation, reviews the activity results of the subsidiary bodies and renders related resolutions, decisions and recommendations. The CMFA decisions are taken through consensus. Coordination of the BSEC activities in the period between CMFA meetings is performed by the acting Chairman of the Organisation – the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the presiding country.

BSEC Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) represents the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member states between the CMFA meetings and acts in their name. In particular the CSO reviews the activities of the subsidiary bodies, controls the execution of the CMFA decisions and recommendations, prepares proposals for new decisions and introduces draft BSEC budget to be adopted by the CMFA.

The subsidiary bodies of the BSEC are the working groups, which meet regularly to discuss the specific areas of sector cooperation. There are several working groups operating within the Organisation in the following fields: agriculture, finance and banking, combating crime, information and communication technologies, emergency assistance, energy, environmental protection, exchange of statistical data, health care and pharmacy, science and technology, promotion of SME’s, tourism, trade and economic development, transport, culture, education, organisational issues. Besides that, other Ad Hoc Groups of Experts can be established in case of need.

The Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) located in Istanbul is the executive body of the BSEC. The Secretariat operates under the general management of the Acting Chairman of the Organisation and under the direct management of the PERMIS Secretary General (from May 1, 2006 the Secretariat is chaired by L.Chrysanthopoulos, Greece).

The Troika mechanism has been established within the BSEC Organisation. Troika meetings are called by the Acting Chairman in order to exchange views on ongoing operations of the Organisation, BSEC lines of activity for the future and its relations with other international organisations and institutions.

In 2004 the BSEC Project Development Fund was established in order to give financial support to the development and implementation of international sectoral projects. With the same purpose in 2007 Greece initiated the creation of the BSEC Hellenic Development Fund consisting of a voluntary contribution from the Hellenic Republic in the amount of 2.000.000 Euros for a period of four years starting from 2008.

It was for the first time in the Organization’s history that the program-oriented budget was approved during the Armenian BSEC Chairmanship-in-Office (November 2008 – May 2009). This would ensure implementation of projects and programs of cooperation in all sectoral dimensions of activity.

There is a number of documents on regional cooperation signed by the BSEC Participating States, namely: the Agreement on Collaboration in Emergency Assistance and Emergency Response to Natural and Man-Made Disasters and the Additional Protocol to this Agreement; the Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Crime, in Particular in its Organized Forms and the Additional Protocol to this Agreement; Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Facilitation of Road Transportation of Goods in the BSEC Region; MoU on the Development of Motorways of the Sea at the BSEC Region; MoU for the Coordinated Development of the Black Sea Ring Highway; MoU on Cooperation Among Diplomatic Academies and Institutes of the BSEC Member States. The following BSEC documents are open for signature by the Member States: the Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures for the Businesspeople Nationals of the BSEC Member States and the Agreement on Simplification of Visas for the Professional Lorry Drivers in the BSEC Member States.

The BSEC has developed relations with other international regional organizations and initiatives. In October 1999 the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation was granted observer status within the United Nations General Assembly.

Interest in the BSEC as regional organisation is intensified due to the representation of countries and institutions which cooperate with the Organisation within the framework of related agreements or which have observer status in the BSEC Organisation. These are: the Energy Charter Secretariat, the European Commission, the Commission for Protection of the Black Sea Against Polution, the US, Austria, Germany, France, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Belarus, Egypt, Israel, Tunisia. Besides that, a number of international non-governmental organisations got the status of BSEC Sectoral Dialogue Partners.

The Central European Initiative (CEI) is a regional organisation associating countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Its activities are aimed at promotion of multilateral cooperation in political, social, economic, scientific and cultural spheres among its member states, as well as strengthening stability and security in the region. The organisation is composed of 18 member states: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

In November 1989 a group of countries (Italy, Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia) established in Budapest a Quadragonal Cooperation, aiming at preparation of Hungary and Yugoslavia to join the European Union.

Following its gradual enlargement, in 1992 the grouping was renamed to Central European Initiative. The Executive Secretariat of CEI is located in Trieste, Italy.

The CEI operates at three structural levels: Heads of Government, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Coordinators of the member states.

In modern Europe the CEI is seeking an opportunity to play a more notable role as a regional international organisation, defining one of its priority tasks as providing comprehensive assistance to its member states on their way to the EU. Nine of the eighteen CEI member states are already members of the EU, all the other (except for Belarus) have declared their intention to join it.

The CEI actively cooperates with other European regional organizations, such as the Adriatic Ionian Initiative, Regional Cooperation Council, BSEC, Council of the Baltic Sea States, etc.

In achieving its goals the CEI relies on support from governments and business circles of its member states rendered through its special bodies, namely the Parliamentary Dimension of the CEI and the Central European Chambers of Commerce Initiative. These structures do not directly belong to the CEI. They operate independently, performing general coordination through the CEI Secretariat.

Ukraine started developing contacts with the CEI in 1992 through participation in several working groups of the Initiative. In March 1994 our state became the member of the CEI Associated Council and on May 31, 1996 Ukraine gained full membership in the Organisation.

Ukraine regards the CEI as an important mechanism for integration to the European economic and political space, and also for stability strengthening in the region and further development of close relations between the CEI member states. Ukrainian experts participate in such CEI focal points as cross-border cooperation, transport, energy, science and technology, working on continuing basis on intensification of Ukrainian enterprises participation in cooperation projects within the CEI framework.

The latest CEI Summit оf Heads оf Government was held on November 13, 2009 in Bucharest, Romania, where participants discussed the ways of regional cooperation intensification through realisation of multilateral projects and technical assistance programmes aimed at CEI member states joining or approaching to the EU.

In 2010 Montenegro holds the presidency in the Central European Initiative.

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