By Tom Miles
GENEVA, Sept 26 Ukraine's announcement that it
intends to raise hundreds of tariff ceilings may have an impact
on the global trading system, the U.S. ambassador to the World
Trade Organization said on Wednesday.
The move has raised fears that Ukraine has found a way to
get around a fundamental check on protectionism that was put
into place when the WTO was created in 1995.
"We are very concerned about the systemic implications of
what Ukraine is contemplating, and I would say that there's a
broad diversity of WTO members that are concerned about what
Ukraine is contemplating," Michael Punke told reporters in
"To give you an example of how broad that diversity is, this
is an issue where I anticipate we'll be working very closely
with countries like Brazil to address our concerns. I think many
members seem to be concerned about the actions that Ukraine
seems to be contemplating and have lots of concerns about it."
Ukraine notified the other 156 members of the WTO in a
document earlier this month that it intended to raise the
ceilings on more than 350 tariffs.
If other countries were to do the same, the system of
legally binding tariff ceilings could unravel, some trade
diplomats and lawyers have said.
A U.S. official previously said the United States had
"serious concerns and questions" about the plan, which uses a
loophole in the rules and, according to some experts, is
tantamount to renegotiating its membership of the WTO.