The 2008 WTO accession of Ukraine: Negotiating experience – challenges, opportunities and post-accession approaches

Ukraine embarked on its road to WTO accession in 1992, a year after it had declared its independence. Fourteen years of intense work, steep learning, persistence, political will and flexibility were to follow. Ukraine faced many immediate challenges and tasks in strengthening its independence and creating and establishing the national institutions required by an independent state, moving away from a centralised economy and reinforcing foreign policy. Ukraine had to totally eliminate its post-Soviet legacy. A new system of national government and administration had to be established. Democracy, the rule of law and a free market became the guiding principles for political, social and economic life. WTO accession implied increased competition, which turned out to be quite painful for some companies. However, the negative scenarios foreseen by some researchers did not occur; in fact, the accession offered the national economy new incentives for structural and long-lasting change. However, WTO membership is not simply a recipe for future happiness. While it stimulates trade and business environments, members must still work within the multilateral system to keep up to date.

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