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07KYIV950, UKRAINE TAKES BACKWARD STEP ON AG IMPORT RULES

April 20, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV950 2007-04-20 14:13 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO2198
PP RUEHBI
DE RUEHKV #0950/01 1101413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201413Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2067
INFO RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0067
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 0024

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 000950 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/UMB, EB/TPP/BTA, EB/TPP/MTA 
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR FOR KLEIN/MOLNAR/OWEN 
USDOC FOR 4201/DOC/ITA/MAC/BISNIS 
USDOC FOR 4231/ITA/OEENIS/NISD/CLUCYCK 
GENEVA FOR USTR 
MUMBAI FOR WKLEIN 
 
E.O.: 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD WTRO ECON PGOV UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE TAKES BACKWARD STEP ON AG IMPORT RULES 
 
REF: A. KYIV 897 
     B. KYIV 790 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: Ukraine's Rada (parliament) passed a law 
on April 10 reinstating mandatory certification of all 
imported agricultural products.  Should it enter into 
force, this measure would undo progress made last November 
and damage ongoing efforts to resolve problems with U.S. 
meat imports.  Ukraine's WTO negotiating team actively 
opposes promulgation of this law.  It is not clear if/when 
the bill will enter into force given the ongoing political 
crisis, and President Yushchenko's position thus far that 
the Rada's legislative actions have no validity in the wake 
of his April 2 dismissal decree.  Post is pushing at the 
highest levels of government, noting that the measure is 
inconsistent with Ukraine's aspirations to join the WTO and 
advocating that the GOU not let it enter into force.  End 
Summary. 
 
Rump Rada Approves Draft Law on Certification of Ag Imports 
------------------------ ---------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) On April 10 Ukraine's Rada (parliament) passed a 
draft law, registered as number 2896, and entitled "On 
Amending Laws of Ukraine Concerning the Quality of Imported 
Food Products."  The measure would reinstate mandatory 
certification for all imported agricultural products 
(except raw materials used in the manufacture of goods 
already subject to mandatory certification).  This measure, 
should it go into effect, would repeal a key aspect of last 
November's amendment to the Law on Veterinary Medicine, one 
of the WTO-required bills, that was meant to eliminate a 
barrier to imports.  According to a local WTO expert, the 
new law would result in an almost quadrupling of the number 
of goods subject to mandatory certification. 
 
3. (U) The Rada approved the draft in a single day, voting 
in both the first and second reading simultaneously.  The 
vote was 243 for, 0 against, with 12 abstentions, winning 
nearly unanimous support from the ruling coalition; the 
opposition was almost entirely absent from the Rada. 
 
Political Background 
-------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) President Yushchenko on April 2 issued a decree 
dissolving the Rada immediately and calling for new 
elections.  The majority coalition has refused to accept 
the decree and the Rada has continued to operate, but 
without the participation of the opposition.  Yushchenko 
does not consider the Rada legitimate, and has refused to 
recognize any of the laws passed by the Rada since April 2. 
The legal status of such laws remains unclear.  According 
to the Constitution and Rada rules, if the President fails 
to veto or sign a bill within 15 days of passage, the Rada 
should promulgate the bill, at which point it becomes law 
(i.e., there is no "pocket veto").  However, a coalition MP 
and a member of the Rada's Secretariat told us that the 
Rada may decide not to promulgate any laws without 
Yushchenko's signature (refs A and B). 
 
Vote is a Step Backward 
----------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) This bill runs counter to Ukraine's pledge to its 
WTO Working Party to reduce the number of goods subject to 
mandatory certification.  It also appears to be a major 
violation of the WTO TBT Agreement, as it subjects all 
agricultural goods to mandatory certification, rather than 
listing goods for certification individually. 
 
6. (SBU) The Rada vote came as the GOU was attempting to 
resolve problems with U.S. meat imports, caused by the 
State Standards Committee's insistence that importers 
continue to receive a certificate from them, even though 
the Ukrainian Veterinary Service had finally agreed to 
recognize U.S. certificates.  Indeed, the November 
amendment to the Law on Veterinary Medicine removed the 
requirement for the State Standards Committee to duplicate 
the function of the Veterinary Service by issuing separate 
certificates.  Post recently complained to the Ministry of 
Economy, providing examples of how importers were 
 
KYIV 00000950  002 OF 002 
 
 
nonetheless still facing requirements from customs 
officials for both types of certification.  Our GOU 
counterparts recognized this was a problem and agreed to 
fix it, noting the hitch appeared to be that implementing 
regulations for the new law are not yet complete. 
(Comment: Issuing separate certificates benefits the State 
Standards Committee financially thanks to costly additional 
testing.  The State Standards Committee therefore opposed 
the November WTO amendment and is likely behind this latest 
law.  End Comment.) 
 
WTO Team Opposed Bill, Seeking Veto 
----------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Zhanna Pastovenska,
from the Ministry of Economy's 
WTO Department, admitted to Econoff on April 16 that the 
new law would be problematic for WTO accession.  She said 
that the Ministry of Economy had formally opposed the bill, 
which had been introduced in January by a group of MPs but 
which initially did not move forward.  Pastovenska promised 
Ukraine's WTO team would request that President Viktor 
Yushchenko veto the bill. 
 
8. (SBU) A complicating factor is that, given President 
Yushchenko's position on the Rada's illegitimacy, he is 
unlikely to veto this particular bill.  The legal status of 
this WTO-related law, therefore, is uncertain.  The 
Constitutional Court is currently hearing the petition on 
Yushchenko's decree; a decision could shed light on the 
validity of legislation passed in April. 
 
Comment: Need to Push Back 
-------------------------- 
 
9. (SBU) The quick Rada vote caught most observers, 
including apparently Ukraine's WTO negotiating team, by 
surprise.  This law is unquestionably a step backward for 
Ukraine's accession.  The vote by members of the ruling 
coalition is inconsistent with the Yanukovych government's 
pledge to pursue accession at the earliest possible date. 
We are already raising the matter at the highest levels of 
the GOU to alert the GOU to the WTO implications and to 
prevent this bill from becoming law.  The Ambassador has 
sent letters to the President, Prime Minister, Minister of 
Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Economy urging that this 
measure not become law or that it be promptly repealed. 
 
TAYLOR

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