Tuesday

22nd May 2018

Poland demands WTO challenge over Russia food ban

  • Poland wants the EU to haul Russia before the World Trade Organisation over its tit-for-tat food ban (Photo: Billy Wilson)

Poland has made a formal request that the EU take Russia before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to overturn its ban on EU food and vegetables.

Reuters reported on Tuesday (19 August) that Poland’s economy ministry had sent a written request for a legal challenge to EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The move is expected to be confirmed by agriculture minister Marek Sawicki and economy minister Janusz Piechociński at a press conference on Wednesday (20 August).

Moscow slapped the one year ban on many food and agriculture imports from the EU, along with the US, Canada, Australia and Norway earlier this month in retaliation against EU sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

Poland is likely to be one of the countries hit hardest by the ban. Last year, it exported more than €1 billion of food to Russia, which is its fourth largest market after Germany, the UK and France, with its apple growers, who export around half of their crop to Russia, the main victims.

Meanwhile, a number of governments are already working out how much compensation they will seek to claim for their farmers from a €420 million emergency fund which the European Commission has at its disposal.

Although the EU may be reluctant to raise the stakes involved in the Ukraine conflict further by involving the WTO, it would not be the first time it has filed disputes against Russia to the Swiss-based trade body.

Despite having only joined the WTO in August 2012 Russia has already been subject to two WTO complaints from the EU. In April, the EU opened a dispute against Russia in response to its ban on EU pork products, while both the EU and Japan filed complaints against a recycling tax imposed on foreign cars last year.

Russia was already seen by the trade body as one of the main culprits in putting up tariff barriers and other trade restrictions against other countries, prior to the Ukraine conflict.

For its part, Moscow has filed its own WTO suits against the EU this year in protest at levies slapped on Russian steel products and ammonium nitrate, which is mainly used in fertilisers, as well as provisions in new EU energy laws which prevent a single company from both owning and operating a gas pipeline.

The WTO cannot force a country to open up its market but can impose fines for breaches of trade rules.

Russia relaxes EU food ban, counts costs

Russia has said its ban on EU food imports will cost it “hundreds of billions of rubles”, while taking several items off the blacklist.

The new Polish government: What to expect?

A strong ‘no’ to Russian aggression in Ukraine and to EU climate goals and a strong ‘yes’ to the energy union and free trade – the new Polish government is set to maintain its stance on key EU questions.

Analysis

Can Europe afford a Russia trade war?

One trade expert has described the EU-Russia sanctions war as economic “mutually assured destruction”, but strategic considerations continue to trump financial problems for both sides.

Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU

Six beneficiaries of a €35m defence research grant were also part of the EU expert group that called for more public money in for the military. 'This raises serious concerns about a conflict of interests,' says campaigner Bram Vranken.

News in Brief

  1. German prosecutor orders Puigdemont to Spain
  2. EU to split trade and investment agreements
  3. EU to start trade talks with Australia and New Zealand
  4. Unknown professor proposed as Italy's new prime minister
  5. 154 German economists warn against eurozone reform
  6. Growing €176bn EU trade deficit with China
  7. All 4.8m Swedish homes get 'war preparation' leaflet
  8. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  2. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  3. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  4. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  5. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  6. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  7. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  8. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border