April 9, 2019,
Kyiv,Premier Palace Hotel, Sofiyevski Hall
Business forum "Business – government partnership in promoting Ukraine's trade through better SPS transparency during DCFTA implementation process".
The main goal of the forum was to facilitate dialogue and share relevant information to improve Ukraine's transparency and trade policies as it approximates its SPS regulatory systems to EU standards and regulations under the DCFTA. It focused on the need for Ukraine's reform to be consistent with the obligations of the WTO SPS Agreement, and that the reform also appropriately considers international standards from the Codex Alimentarius, the OIE, and the IPPC. Representatives of the private sector and business associations discussed with government officials how to jointly address and comment on draft SPS measures notified to the WTO by other countries if the measures are viewed to be trade restrictive or lacking a scientific basis.
This business forum follows a study tour to Washington DC that was organized in December, 2018 for representatives of Ukrainian government and trade associations focusing on the US SPS system and WTO transparency issues and two round table discussions that took place earlier this year. It served as a valuable platform to outreach more relevant people and further disseminate information.
Robin Gray, Agricultural Attaché, FAS-Kyiv, Ukraine and Lina Dotsenko, CEO of the BRIDGES, welcomed the participants, stressing the importance of such meetings in terms of Ukraine – EU Approximation Process.

The forum gathered a total of around 70 people that included both government officials and business representatives that discussed the following key issues:

  • Ukraine's approximation with the EU legislation and the interaction between the government and the private sector on the procedures for submitting comments on the SPS measures of the WTO member countries, where these measures constitute trade barriers;
  • Tools to ensure consistent, meaningful and timely measures to ensure transparency of SPS rules; commenting process and its importance through demonstration of cases based on real trade situations;
  • Experience of other countries in implementing changes in the SPS regulatory system and regulations as part of the EU approximation process.
The first presentation focused on Ukraine's approximation progress, identifying the most critical points in harmonization of UA legislation. Olena Kuriata, Deputy Head of Directorate for International Cooperation at State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection, provided a detailed overview of Ukraine - EU approximation process and explained how it can improve the quality of goods produced in Ukraine and promote economic growth.

Gregg Young, a consultant on WTO and Trade Policy, CLDP project talked of necessary parts and roles to enable consistent, substantive and timely SPS transparency actions. He emphasized the rights and obligations that should be taken into account by both business and government to ensure the dialogue between the stakeholders which can ultimately lead to a better regulatory system. Natalya Virchenko from the Ukrainian Enquiry Point supported Gregg Young stressing the importance of commenting process. Her presentation covered the information on how associations and businesses can work with the local enquiry point in Ukraine and shared information on available resources. Natalya emphasized that business can play a more active role in the commenting process. She acknowledged some recent progress in working with business associations, noting that the Ministry of Economics and Trade recently published comments from associations on the ministry's website.
While many participants agreed that it is important to improve communication between the government agencies and business associations, it was important to receive a positive feedback from Anna Sankina, Senior manager, Corporate affairs specialist, "CHS Ukraine" who talked about prompt actions of the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection that quickly provided an official explanatory letter once CHS submitted a request for clarification on new phytosanitary regulations. This helped them to avoid unjustified barriers to international trade.
The examples on EU approximation process from Georgia and Poland provided by Jacek Kucharski, Deputy Head of the Chief Veterinary Office, Poland and Demna Dzirkvadze, USDA-FAS, Tbilisi shared Poland's and Georgia's experience during the EU approximation process without negatively impacting domestic producers and trade. Jacek Kucharski also talked about some food safety and registration procedures adopted in Poland after the EU accession.
Jay Mitchell, APHIS, USDA closed the forum with a presentation on the US system for notice and comment of a rulemaking process. He talked about good governance role, various steps to ensure that regulations are sound and consistent with applicable laws and policies, benefits of taking comments into account.
He presented an actual case study focused on import of lemons from Argentina into the US to answer the question "Why take comments into account?", and another case study focused on rulemaking for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which was a relevant topic for Ukraine.

All participants expressed great interest in the event, actively asking questions and discussing SPS legislation, rulemaking process, Ukraine – EU approximation progress and many other issues. The workshop demonstrated that both government officials and private sector are willing to continue the dialogue and eager to participate in various events organized to promote trade and transparency between Ukraine and other WTO members.