UKRAINE CUTS IMPORT DUTIES TO FIGHT FUEL SHORTAGE. President Leonid Kuchma reprimanded his government on 21 July for the acute gasoline shortage in the country (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 July 1999). The cabinet responded by ordering the lifting of a 2 percent duty on oil imports land and freeing domestic producers from a 0.01 euro duty on each kilogram of oil products until 1 January 2000. Deputy Economy Minister Viktor Kalnyk said the government also ordered tax authorities to give local oil refineries more time to pay value-added tax and excise duties. The government, meanwhile, plans to import 500,000 tons of diesel fuel from Azerbaijan to help farmers with the harvest campaign. As a result of the gasoline crisis, the exchange rate for the hryvnya sank to 4.2 to $1 in trading between banks on 21 July, having remained stable for several months at around 3.9 to $1. JM