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WTO violation?

September 18, 2014

Vladimir Putin has said the EU and the US had violated the principles of the World Trade Organization by imposing sanctions. A number of countries have implemented trade embargos over the war with Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin in Minsk
Image: Reuters

During a meeting with the senior government officials on Thursday Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "Limits introduced against Russia are none other than a rejection by some of our partners of basic WTO principles.

"This is all done in a politicized manner, without any observation of WTO norms," he added.

Both the EU and the US imposed sanctions on Russia in different phases following its intervention in Ukraine. In exchange, Russia also announced a one-year ban on imports of food from the rest of the EU and the US.

The Russian president said that to compete with the sanctions, the country needed to develop its own domestic market. To achieve that goal, Putin said, creation of a competitive environment for business financing was required.

Talking WTO

As part of ban on imports from the EU, Russia will not buy Polish fruits and vegetables for one year. Poland's agriculture minister Marek Sawicki said that was in breach of international law. In August, he said, "We believe Russia has broken international law in both its embargo against Poland and its embargo against the EU."

The Polish minister then went on to say that Poland was taking action against Russia's new import ban.

That could be done, Eric Pickett, a WTO expert, told DW. He said, "If a WTO member state believes another WTO member state has taken a measure that is not in conformity with WTO rules, the affected WTO member state may request mediation."

Pickett said the issue can be brought under the notice of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), which will convene a panel to look at the case. The DSB is made up of representatives of all WTO member states.

Japan plans Russia ban

Meanwhile, Japan announced late Wednesday that it was considering imposing further sanctions against Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The announcement may come on Friday, reported Japan's Kyodo News agency.

Earlier in August, Japan imposed lesser sanctions and froze assets held by individuals or groups considered to be directly involved in Russia's annexation of Crimea or the instability in Ukraine.

zh/sb (AFP, Reuters, dpa)