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Senior U.S. and Ukrainian government representatives met May 28 for the fifth meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Trade and Investment Council. The two sides discussed barriers to increased bilateral trade and investment and ways to overcome those barriers and said they have “an ambitious agenda” for the coming year.
According to a joint statement, each partner offered concrete ideas on how to improve trade in agricultural and manufactured goods. These included the United States’ reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences and Ukraine’s acceptance of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement and accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement.
Discussions also covered ways of enhancing the business and investment climate in Ukraine. Officials reviewed Ukraine’s extensive reform agenda, including its “ambitious and urgently needed” efforts to strengthen the rule of law, combat corruption and create a favorable business environment. The U.S. welcomed Ukraine’s efforts to reduce regulatory burdens, implement internationally recognized approaches to standardization and improve the value-added tax refund system. The two sides also discussed the benefits of introducing an electronic VAT system and the value of a transparent, efficient and fair VAT system.
Intellectual property rights protection and enforcement was a particular point of emphasis. The U.S. noted Ukraine’s pledge to create a transparent, functioning and legitimate system for collecting and distributing copyright royalties to rights holders. There are also plans to work together to eliminate reliance on unauthorized software by Ukrainian government agencies and to institutionalize a mechanism for transitioning to the use of authorized software. In the coming year the two sides anticipate cooperating to help reverse the widespread and growing online infringement of copyright and related rights in Ukraine.
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