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“ARMENIAN RADIO” JOKE PERFORMED BY THE STATE CUSTOMS SERVICE OF UKRAINE

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29.10.10

In run-of-the-mill jokes featuring “The Armenian Radio,” which were popular in Soviet times, this fictitious entity had usually been asked questions and then had been giving sharp-witted answers. However, it was Chairman of the State Customs Service of Ukraine Ihor Kaletnik who turned to have been no inferior to that Radio, as he thought up so witty news for Armenians that made everybody laugh.

Indeed, at a press conference in Yerevan held on the occasion of a regular meeting of the Council of Chiefs of the Customs Services of CIS (Commonwealth of Independent Countries) Countries, the chief customs officer of Ukraine informed that “the dispute between Armenia and Ukraine in regard to the overstating by Armenia of the tax rates on the import of Ukrainian tobacco produce” has allegedly been “settled.”

As I. Kaletnik said, the issue “had been raised at the level of the World Customs Organization” and as of today “the taxation level has been brought into conformity with the tax requirements.”

The World Customs Organization, however respectful it is, does not deal with settlement of tariff-related disputes between countries; what is more, this does not belong to the powers of the Chairman of the State Customs Service of Ukraine, either.

It is quite possible that during the visit of Mr. Kaletnik the Armenian side fully satisfied his “tax requirements.” However, as the discrimination of tobacco and alcoholic imports is still in place and nobody has withdrawn the complaint of filed by Ukraine at the WTO, in case if the bilateral consultations would not yield any results until the next meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body, an expert panel would be automatically set up to examine the claims of Ukraine.

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