Ukraine will not initiate a trade war with Russia and hopes to use the World Trade Organization to resolve any such disputes initiated by Russia, Ukraine’s ambassador in Geneva told a news conference.
“I think they will not limit themselves to military intervention. They will add some famous trade wars with Ukraine. They have very good experience with that,” Yurii Klymenko said.
Klymenko said both countries were dependent on trade with the other, but even before the Crimea crisis that put the two countries on the brink of war in recent weeks, trade had been an area of friction between Moscow and Kiev.
Russia effectively blocked Ukrainian imports last August, when it enforced time-consuming customs checks on all Ukrainian cargoes, Klymenko recalled.
The two had already fired tit-for-tat trade restrictions at each other, with Ukraine limiting Russian car imports and Russia hitting back at Ukrainian-made chocolate and glass.
Russia said last July it had found a carcinogenic substance in confectionary made by Ukrainian firm Roshen and barred its imports. On Thursday, Ukraine’s government said Russian riot police had taken over Roshen’s factory in the Russian city of Lipetsk.
Klymenko said Ukraine was paying more attention than ever before to its membership of the WTO and would use the global trade body’s rulebook to protect its national interests.
“We truly believe in the potential of this organisation. And we believe that this organisation could allow us in the future to find the civilised way of solving trade disputes first of all with the Russian Federation,” he said.
“We are very much interested in having normal trade relations with Russia and we are going to expand them.” (Reuters)