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WTO sets up arbitral expert groups to study Russia, EU claims

July 22, 2014, 20:02 UTC+3 GENEVA
Australia, Argentina, Indonesia, Canada, China, Norway, the US, Turkey, and Ukraine have agreed to act as a third party in examining Russia’s first claim since its accession to the WTO in 2012
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Roberto Azevedo and Herman Van Rompuy

Roberto Azevedo and Herman Van Rompuy

GENEVA, July 22./ITAR-TASS/. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has set up an arbitral expert panel to examine Russia’s lawsuit against the European Union over the so-called energy adjustments.

Australia, Argentina, Indonesia, Canada, China, Norway, the United States, Turkey, and Ukraine have agreed to act as a third party in examining Russia’s first claim since its accession to the WTO in 2012.

The claim was lodged in December 2013. Since then Russian negotiators have been unsuccessfully trying to resolve disagreements with European colleagues in pretrial consultations.

The essence of Russia’s complaints about energy adjustments is that the European Union’s anti-dumping procedures include not Russian but higher European prices in Russian enterprises’ costs related to the purchase of electricity or natural gas and then accuse Russia of dumping practices on that ground.

The WTO also set up another arbitral panel which will examine the EU lawsuit against Russia, in which Brussels is contesting Moscow’s decision to ban pork import from Europe.

Australia, India, China, Norway, the Republic of Korea, the United States, Taiwan, and Japan will act as a third party in this case.

Russia banned the import of pork and pigs from all EU countries on January 30, 2014 citing the threat of African swine plague as the reason. On April 7, the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phyrosanitary Inspection (Rosselkhoznadzor) imposed restrictions on the import of all pork products from Poland and Lithuania, after which the EU on April 8 lodged a claim against Russia with the WTO.

Attempts to resolve disagreement through negotiations proved futile.

In the next 20 days the sides will have to select the experts to serve on the panel. After that they will have six months to make the decision which can then be appealed. Usually, it takes about a year to examine a claim.

Russia joined the WTO in August 2012 after 19 years of negotiations. Less than a year after that, in July 2013, the European Union contested Russia’s car recycling fee; in April it filed a complaint with the WTO questioning the legality of the Russian ban on the import of pork; in late May, it contested anti-dumping duties for light commercial vehicles.

Russia, for its part, filed a claim against the European Union’s energy adjustments in December 2013 and against the EU Third Energy Package in April.

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