EU blocks Russian WTO complaint over trade duties

GMT 09:17 2014 Wednesday ,18 June

Arab Today, arab today EU blocks Russian WTO complaint over trade duties

Novolipetsky metallurgical plant in Lipetsk
Geneva - AFP

The European Union has blocked a challenge by Moscow at the WTO to duties its slaps on Russian goods, trade sources said Wednesday.
With Moscow locking horns with Brussels and other Western capitals over a raft of issues at the World Trade Organization, the EU exercised its right to stop the global body from being called in to make a ruling.
Under the regulations of the WTO, however, all Moscow need do is file a second request for the creation of a dispute settlement panel.
Russia accuses the EU of violating global free trade measures by hitting its steel and fertiliser makers with "energy adjustment" tariffs, in force since 2002.
WTO members are allowed to impose extra duties when goods are being "dumped" on them or sold at below market prices to grab business.
But they must prove that their domestic producers are suffering as a result of dumping, and that they are not simply deploying duties to hobble foreign firms' trade.
Russia argues that the anti-dumping tariffs have been applied unfairly, making it impossible for Russian companies to export to EU markets, causing annual losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Russia joined the WTO in August 2012, after accession negotiations lasting for more than a decade.
The tariff complaint, filed in December last year, was the first it made after entering the Geneva-based body that oversees respect for the rules of international commerce.
Russia has also hit the EU with a WTO complaint over Brussels' energy market reforms, which it says hurt its gas giant Gazprom.
Brussels, in turn, has asked the WTO to rule on Russia's "recycling fee" imposed on cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles, and which applies only to imports not domestic-made models.
The two sides are also wrangling at the WTO over embargoes on a string of goods from ex-communist countries, several of which are now members of the 28-nation EU.
Since joining the WTO, Russia has imposed bans on dairy products, chocolates, wine and meat from countries including Lithuania, Poland, Moldova and Ukraine.
Moscow has cited quality concerns that allow countries to take such a step under WTO rules. Critics say Russia offers little scientific evidence and claim the bans are political, hitting countries that refuse to toe their Soviet-era master's line.
After a complaint is filed, member economies try to resolve their differences in direct talks, but generally turn back to the WTO.
The WTO's disputes settlement process can last for years, amid appeals, counter-appeals and compliance assessments.
Its panels of independent trade and legal experts can authorise retaliatory trade measures by the wronged party.


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