Geneva, Switzerland - Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Michael Punke issued the following statement on behalf of the United States at the World Trade Organization's General Council meeting:
"For the past 90 days, the United States, along with others that have spoken today, has urged Ukraine to abandon its proposed action under Article XXVIII.
As my Minister has made clear, Ukraine's continued pursuit of this action will have serious multilateral and bilateral consequences.
While Ukraine has repeatedly attempted to argue that it is within its rights to pursue this action, it is our strong belief that Article XXVIII was never intended to be used as protectionist tool to renegotiate a Member's accession commitments.
Now that the 90 day period is coming to a close, the United States had no choice yesterday but to submit our claim of interest to Ukraine in order to reserve the rights of our stakeholders.
However, I want to be clear: in no way should the fact that we submitted a claim of interest be misread by Ukraine to mean that we have changed our views on its proposed action. We stand by the joint CTG statement made on November 26.
With our claim of interest now submitted, we expect full and immediate transparency from Ukraine on precisely what it is seeking on a line-by-line basis. This transparency is long overdue.
We regret that despite the outcry of concern from Members in Geneva – the extent to which I have not seen in my time in Geneva – Ukraine had not yet withdrawn its Article XXVIII notification. We still hope that they will do so."