Ukraine is the most recent country to be approved for admission to the World Trade Organization, or WTO. Once Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, ratifies its WTO accession, Ukraine will follow other former Soviet republics into the WTO. This will open up new opportunities for increased trade with the United States and the rest of the world.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko hailed the agreement on WTO membership as a major step toward closer relations with the West. "We have a deep conviction and commitment," he said, "to integrate the Ukrainian economy into the World Trade Organization." The agreement has the support of most of Ukraine's political parties and must be ratified by the parliament by July 4th.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a written statement that Ukraine's membership represents "an important milestone in its economic transformation, and its participation in the WTO will serve as an important impetus to further economic reform and integration into the global marketplace."
Membership in the WTO is expected to help raise living standards and increase investment in Ukraine. Ukraine has a population of forty-six million and a gross domestic product estimated at one-hundred six billion dollars.
Ukraine’s membership in the WTO also will provide it with an important forum to resolve disagreements with its trading partners, including Russia, which is also seeking WTO membership. Ukraine supports Russian membership in the WTO as a means to resolve a number of long-standing trade issues, including disputes over steel, sugar, and dairy products.
Ukraine's admission to the World Trade Organization shows that the country is committed to the ideals of economic freedom and democratic progress. The United States will continue to support Ukraine's increased integration into global institutions and the transatlantic community.