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Monday, February 20, 2006

A Step Closer to WTO Memebership: US Grants Ukraine Market-Economy Status

Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Sampson brought the good news during his recent visit to Kyiv. The event comes as a long awaited achievement prerequisite to Ukraine's accession to the WTO, expected this year. A bilateral protocol on trade will be signed in the near term. Washington and Kyiv will continue their cooperation in nuclear energy. In 2006, a year that will mark the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Ukraine operates four nuclear power plants. However, they do not produce their own fuel. This leaves Ukraine, the country which gave up the world's third largest nuclear arsenal, vulnerable to pressure from Russia, the main supplier. Washington has frowned on Kyiv's pursuit of an in-house refuelling capability. As a compensating measure, US company Westinghouse supplies fuel to one of Ukraine's nuclear power plants.

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