GENEVA, April 19. /TASS/. Russia has sent a request to the WTO on Thursday to hold consultations with the US on the steel and aluminum duties imposed by Washington, Russia's Ambassador to the WTO Gennady Ovechko told TASS.
"We have asked for consultations on the measures introduced by the US," he said adding that it concerns the duties the US had imposed on imports of steel and aluminum.
According to the WTO agreements, if a party’s interests are affected it "has the right to introduce retaliatory measures, and one of the preconditions for it, is to hold bilateral consultations," Ovechko explained.
"This is not a dispute in the full sense of the word, but a somewhat different track," he stressed.
According to Russia’s request published by the WTO on Thursday, the purpose of the consultations "is, among other things, to exchange views on measures and to achieve mutual understanding" on ways to fulfill the goals reflected in the WTO agreement on protection measures.
"Russia proposes holding consultations as soon as possible and expects a quick response from the United States in order to agree on the date and place of consultations," the ambassador said.
According to the WTO’s rules, if the parties fail to agree on compensation to Russia during the consultations, then Russia can take counter measures.
On Thursday, Reuters reported that Russia turned to the WTO demanding compensation from the US for tariffs on steel and aluminum. Earlier China, India and the EU also addressed the WTO with similar claims to the US.
On March 23, the US slapped import duties on steel and aluminum (25% and 10% respectively). However, these tariffs will be waived until May 1 on products from Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea.
According to the Industry and Trade Ministry, Russian metal producers may suffer losses to the tune of at least $3 bln because of the US customs duties.