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Russia rejects EU request to summon panel of arbiters to settle trade dispute in WTO

March 10, 2015, 14:56 UTC+3 GENEVA
Moscow says the dispute can be settled by way of consultations
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©  EPA/PHOTO KEYSTONE/Laurent Gillieron

GENEVA, March 10. /TASS/. Russia rejected a request filed by the European Union in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to summon a panel of arbiters to settle the trade dispute over raising duties on import of paper, fridges and palm oil, WTO spokesman Joseph Bosch told TASS on Tuesday.

"Russia justified the move by the fact that this dispute may be settled by way of consultations," Bosch said.

The EU request was considered Tuesday by the WTO dispute settlement body. According to the spokesman, it’s still unclear what response will be supplied by the European Union. The next meeting of the WTO dispute settlement body is scheduled for March 25. However, whether this point will be on agenda will only become known on March 12.

"Today over the course of the WTO dispute settlement body meeting the Russian side exercised its right stipulated by the procedure of WTO dispute settlement and rejected the EU request to summon a panel of WTO arbiters on the dispute with Russia over import tariffs," a source in Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development told TASS.

In late October 2014, the European Union claimed that Russia imposed import duties on paper, fridges and palm oil higher than allowed by the WTO. According to the complaint, Russia either set a higher percentage rate or fixed a minimum duty regardless of the percentage rate allowed by the WTO agreements.

The case is the EU’s fourth complaint against Russia to the global trade regulator. In 2013, the EU complained to the WTO over Russia’s car recycling charge payment mode for cars. In April 2014, the EU challenged Russia’s decision to ban pork imports from Europe. The EU’s third complaint concerned Russia’s car-recycling tax imposed on imported vehicles.

In its turn, Russia lodged its complaint against Europe's antidumping duties in December 2013. In April 2014, Moscow challenged the EU’s "Third Energy Package".

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