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WTO decides to establish arbitral group on Russia’s claim to EU on Third Energy Package

July 20, 2015, 14:56 UTC+3 GENEVA
Moscow believes that the Third Energy Package provisions run counter to the European Union’s commitments in the WTO on the basic principles of non-discrimination and market access
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© EPA/PHOTO KEYSTONE/Laurent Gillieron

GENEVA, July 20. /TASS/. Russia’s claim to the European Union (EU) on the Third Energy Package will be considered by an arbitral group of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The decision was made at Russia’s request by the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) in Geneva on Monday.

"The decision on founding a group has been made," WTO spokesman Joseph Bosch told TASS.

At the previous meeting of the DSB on June 19, the EU rejected Russia’s inquiry in the WTO on establishment of an arbitral group, Bosch said, adding that this time the decision was made as according to the Organization’s rules, a party against which a complaint is filed has the right to block a request on forming an arbitral group on one occasion. At the next consideration the decision on establishing the group is taken automatically.

Russia filed its WTO complaint over the EU Third Energy Package last April. Moscow believes that its provisions run counter to the European Union’s commitments in the WTO on the basic principles of non-discrimination and market access. According to this document, companies involved in natural gas production cannot own major pipelines located on the territory of EU member-countries. They must either sell their assets to the EU or transfer the right to operate the pipelines to independent companies in the European Union.

To date, Russia has filed three complaints against the EU at the WTO. The first complaint (filed in December 2013) related to energy adjustment tariffs, the second (filed in April 2014) - the EU Third Energy Package. The third complaint was filed in May, it addresses the issues related to the anti-dumping measures imposed by the European Union on several items imported from Russia, including ammonium nitrate and steel products.

In its turn, Brussels has applied to the World Trade Organization with four suits against Moscow. The first investigation was launched in 2013 regarding utilization fee for cars made abroad, while in April 2014 the European Union filed a lawsuit against Russia with relation to ban on pork imports from Europe. The third suit was tied with Russia’s antidumping import customs duties on light commercial vehicles from Germany and Italy. The fourth claim launched in October 2014 relates to the EU complaints on the size of Russia’s duties on paper, refrigerators and palm oil imports.

Russia joined the WTO in August 2012 following 19 years of negotiations.

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