World Trade Organisation (WTO) member states are being invited to meet next week to approve Ukraine 's accession, following a deal between Kiev and Brussels , the WTO's chief negotiator on Ukraine said 16 January. Mario Matus, Chile 's WTO ambassador, said the membership endorsement would then be passed to the WTO's General Council on Feb. 5-6, unless there were any last-minute technical objections to the accession package. "The next step is to have a full meeting next week, very likely the 25th, and then if everything goes well then we may expect the entrance of Ukraine by the next General Council," he told Reuters. Ukraine , the third-biggest country outside the WTO after Russia and Iran , has been close to joining the world trade body for months. But the European Union insisted that Ukraine should give a binding commitment to reduce the duties it was levying on exports, particularly on metals. European Union officials said these duties amounted to a subsidy for domestic metallurgy plants, disadvantaging foreign smelters who bought non-ferrous metals from Ukraine . Kiev and Brussels agreed to a deal on the issue late on Wednesday.
WTO membership will provide Ukraine , a former Soviet republic bordering Russia and new EU members in Eastern Europe , with access to export markets on more favourable terms than it now enjoys, and the right to help shape world trade rules. But it will also give it leverage over Russia , which is still negotiating accession. WTO applicants must reach bilateral agreements with any existing member that requires it before they can join. (Reporting by Jonathan Lynn; editing by Sami Aboudi)