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08KYIV722, WILL UKRAINE JOIN RUSSIA’S WTO WORKING PARTY?

April 10, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV722 2008-04-10 08:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #0722/01 1010845
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 100845Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5338
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0328
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0054
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0001
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0042
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0113

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000722 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/UMB, EUR/RUS, EB/TPP/BTA, EB/TPP/MTA 
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR FOR CKLEIN 
USDOC FOR 4231/ITA/OEENIS/NISD/CLUCYK 
MOSCOW FOR JKUO 
GENEVA FOR USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/09/2018 
TAGS: ETRD WTRO PGOV UP RS
SUBJECT: WILL UKRAINE JOIN RUSSIA'S WTO WORKING PARTY? 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 968 
 
     B. YARNELL-KUO EMAIL OF 1/28 
 
Classified By: Economic Counselor Douglas Kramer 
for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
 1. (C) Summary: A GOU official recently told the press that 
Ukraine did not plan to join Russia's WTO Working Party, even 
though Ukraine looks set to join the WTO within a matter of 
months, well ahead of Russia.  (Note:  Ukraine's parliament 
April 10 ratified the protocol of accession, details septel.) 
 The Ministry of Economy subsequently clarified that, in 
fact, no official decision had been made.  Regardless of 
whether Ukraine does decide to join Russia's Working Party, 
the GOU wants to see Russia inside the WTO as soon as 
possible and is unlikely to do anything to cause delays.  End 
Summary. 
 
2. (U) Following approval of Ukraine's accession at the 
February 5 meeting of the WTO's General Council, Ukraine 
looks on track to join the WTO within a matter of months. 
The protocol of accession, along with a final package of 10 
laws agreed to as part of the negotiations, was submitted for 
Rada (parliamentary) ratification April 2.  The Rada ratified 
the protocol April 10 (septel) and passage of the rest of the 
package is expected to proceed without much difficulty. 
 
Ukraine to Forgo Russia's Working Party? 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (U) An April 8 report by Radio Era, a Ukrainian internet 
news portal, quoted Lidiya Melnyk, deputy head of the 
Ministry of Economy's WTO Department, as saying, "Ukraine 
does not plan to join Russia's WTO Working Party" should 
Ukraine indeed complete the accession process before its 
eastern neighbor.  Melnyk's statement came amidst widespread 
speculation on how Ukraine's imminent accession might affect 
Russia (ref A). 
 
No Official Decision Yet 
------------------------ 
 
4. (C) We contacted the Ministry of Economy on April 9 to 
clarify Melnyk's statement.  Melnyk explained that, in fact, 
the GOU had made no official decision on whether or not to 
join Russia's Working Party and that her statement to Radio 
Era should be considered a personal opinion.  Yet this 
opinion was based on public statements by the President and 
Prime Minister, said Melnyk, as she interpreted high-level 
assurances that Ukraine would not block Russia's accession to 
mean that Ukraine would not join the Working Party.  (Note: 
President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko have 
indeed made several public statements in support of Russia's 
accession.  Tymoshenko said in January that Ukraine would not 
use the WTO as "a tool of pressure on other countries" (ref 
B), and Yushchenko said in February, "Ukraine is interested 
in Russia's earliest possible membership of the WTO and will 
do all it can to facilitate it."  End note.) 
 
5. (C) Zhanna Pastovenska, responsible for Working Party 
activities within the WTO negotiating team, also confirmed 
that the Ministry had not yet received any instructions from 
the government on how to proceed vis-a-vis Russia's accession. 
 
6. (U) When asked at an April 9 press conference about the 
GOU's plans, Prime Minister Tymoshenko responded that she 
"had no information" about a government decision to forgo a 
seat in Russia's Working Party but that Ukraine would 
participate in "the agreement of the protocols for Russia's 
accession to the WTO." 
 
Comment: Ukraine Unlikely to Stall Russia 
----------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Although Melnyk believes that Ukraine will not join 
Russia's Working Party, we have heard the opposite from some 
other GOU officials, and it is simply too early to tell. 
Whether or not Ukraine decides to join Russia's Working 
Party, however, we consider it unlikely that the GOU would 
raise any major obstacles to Russia's accession.  Especially 
considering difficulties with energy trade, many in the GOU 
 
are anxious not to upset the bilateral relationship, and GOU 
trade officials in particular would prefer to see Russia 
inside the WTO rather than out.  One cannot exclude the 
possibility that some tiff in the bilateral relationship, 
similar to recent reactions to sharp Russian comments on 
Ukraine's NATO ambitions, could spur some in the GOU to seek 
to use Russia's WTO working party for political leverage. 
However, we believe the most probable outcome is that the GOU 
would raise few, if any, trade demands if it does join the 
Working Party on Russia.  End Comment. 
Taylor

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