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Ukraine refuses to impose restrictions on import of wires

KYIV. Oct 13 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade (ICIT) canceled its April 23 decision on the introduction of a 23.5% special duty on imported wire products, which was to enter into force in mid-October.

"The commission found that national interests do not require the imposition of special measures," the commission said in a publication in the Uriadovy Kurier newspaper on Wednesday.

It recalls that the revision of the April decision was launched on September 23 at the initiative of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.

As reported, on September 14, 2021, the Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade (ICIT) published its decision of April 23 this year in the Uriadovy Kurier newspaper on the application of a special duty on the import of wires to Ukraine, regardless of the country of origin for a period of three years: in the first year of the duty application it will be 23.5%, in the second – 22.3% and in the third – 21.2%. The decision would take effect 30 days after publication.

"This case is unprecedented, since the decision of the commission was not published for almost five months due to pressure from some MPs and officials who lobbied for the interests of importers," Olena Omelchenko, a partner at Ilyashev & Partners, which represented the interests of Ukrainian manufacturers, said.

An investigation into the import of wire products was initiated on July 28, 2020 at the initiative of the Odeskabel and Pivdencable (Yuzhcable) factories (in total, they produce over 50% of these products in Ukraine).

At the same time, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine and network communication operators opposed it.

According to the ICIT, during the investigation period – from the beginning of 2017 to the middle of 2020 – import volumes surged by 128.8%, the share of imports in total production – by 180.4%, in consumption – by 74.8%.

According to the State Customs Service, imports to Ukraine under code heading 8544 insulated wire, cable and other insulated electrical conductors, optical fibre cables in the first half of 2021 amounted to 30,200 tonnes for $310.95 million, having increased over the year by 24.6% and 44.9%, respectively.

The Ukrelektrokabel Association, uniting 16 enterprises, including 12 manufacturers of cable products, criticized attempts of the Digital Transformation Ministry to review the decision of the Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade.

"This creates an extremely dangerous precedent, proving that legal mechanisms for protecting the internal market are giving way to informal agreements again, as it was ten years ago. We are surprised that the Ministry of Digital Transformation, which is not a member of the commission, is not responsible for the development of industry, rudely intervenes and, by its actions, destroys the national producer," head of the association Anatoliy Pushkar said.