22nd Oct 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Women shake Poland's pillars of power

Polish women are marching again this Sunday and Monday. They could succeed where the opposition, the European Commission and other protests failed, and redraw Poland's political map.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity