Friday

13th Dec 2019

Russia's first WTO trade dispute targets EU duties

  • Russia has filed its first WTO complaint against the EU (Photo: Holy Trinity Church of Pārdaugava)

Russia has taken aim at the EU, filing its first trade dispute to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in protest against anti-dumping duties imposed by Brussels.

In a statement on Monday (6 January), the Swiss-based WTO, which arbitrates on international trade, said that Moscow was seeking consultations with the EU over levies on Russian steel products and ammonium nitrate, which is mainly used in fertilisers.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Under WTO procedures, EU and Russian trade officials will have 60 days to try and settle their differences before further legal action is taken. The WTO has the power to impose either a change of policy or economic sanctions.

The EU says the duties are in place because Russia is selling the goods below their production cost. In its statement, the WTO said that the complaint focuses on how the EU calculates the value of the goods and the level of tariff fees to slap onto them.

The dispute is the first to be initiated by Russia since it joined the WTO in August 2012.

However, Russia is seen by the trade body as one of the main culprits in putting up tariff barriers and other trade restrictions and is itself already subject to two investigations relating to a car recycling tax on foreign cars.

In November, the WTO agreed with an EU request to set up an arbitration panel to decide whether the tax breaches international trade rules. For its part, Japan has also lodged a complaint against the tax which has raised more than €1.3 billion for the Kremlin's coffers.

Russia imposed the tax in September 2012 shortly after agreeing to remove similar tariff barriers as part of its successful bid to join the trade body.

The move also comes amid increasingly frosty relations between Brussels and Moscow.

The European Commission is expected to release a list of formal anti-trust charges against Russian gas giant Gazprom over claims that it has overcharged a number of eastern European countries.

The EU has also condemned Russia's threats of sanctions against Ukraine in the ongoing tug-of-war over the country's economic future which led to the collapse of a trade agreement between Kiev and Brussels.

WTO to decide on 'illegal' Russian car tax

The WTO will decide later this month whether to set up an arbitration panel on what the EU described as an "illegal measure" by Russia against the bloc's car industry.

Russia to file WTO lawsuit against EU energy laws

Russia is to file its second formal complaint against the EU with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the EU's so-called 'Third Energy Package,' according to reports on Wednesday.

EU lodges new WTO protest against Russia

The EU lodged its fourth formal complaint against Russia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Friday in the latest round of the trade battle between the two blocs.

Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit

The Dutch prime minister and figures from the European Parliament are both piling on pressure for leaders at the EU summit to discuss the rule of law in Malta, as the presence of the island-nation's prime minister draws protests.

News in Brief

  1. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  2. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  3. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality
  4. Czech PM: nuclear energy needed for climate neutrality
  5. Hungary: Climate target is burden, EU should help
  6. Malta PM urged to step down ahead of EU summit
  7. France rolls out new pension scheme amid protests
  8. Germany accused of aiding war crimes in Yemen

Opinion

Does Malta's Labour Party now belong in S&D?

The Maltese Labour Party is a curious creature. No minister, MEP, MP, president, or former president has yet criticised Joseph Muscat publicly and outright over the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Exclusive

Zahradil 'conflict of interest' over EU-Vietnam trade deal

Right-wing Czech MEP Jan Zahradil is leading European Parliament negotiations on a trade deal with Vietnam. As rapporteur, he is supposed to be neutral but has neglected to declare his involvement in a group with ties to the Communist party.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  2. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  3. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks
  4. Europe needs to make mind up on relations with Africa
  5. Leaders face crucial EU summit for climate action
  6. Leaders to battle on climate target and money at summit
  7. Von der Leyen: 'Green Deal is our man-on-moon moment'
  8. North Atlantic mini states in geopolitical turbulence

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us