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EU takes Russia to WTO again

Hardy GraupnerOctober 31, 2014

The European Union has launched a trade dispute at the World Trade Organization to challenge what it feels are Russia's unjustified tariffs on many imports from the bloc. Brussels said Moscow did not stick to WTO rules.

EU, Russia flags
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The European Union on Friday requested official consultations with Russia with regard to import duties imposed on a range of goods from EU member states.

It was the first step in a fresh dispute settlement procedure in response to what Brussels viewed as violations by Moscow of its obligations under the WTO treaty.

The EU claimed Russia had been levying higher tariffs than permitted on several types of goods, including paper and paperboard, palm oil, refrigerators and combined fridge-freezers.

Waiting for a reply

It said Russia often slapped a 15-percent import duty on such items instead of the 5 percent permissible under WTO rules.

"Those higher duties have a clear negative impact on European exports on goods worth 500 million euros [$629 million] a year," the European Commission said in a statement on its homepage.

Russia-EU clash over car import duties

Brussels confirmed that Russia would have 60 days to settle the dispute or face a panel ruling on the case.

Russia is the EU's third most important trading partner, with European exports amounting to 120 billion euros a year. The case referred Friday to the WTO is the fourth since Russia joined the organization in 2012.