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KIEV, February 13. /TASS/. Ukraine has submitted a request to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to create an expert group within its complaint against Russia over transit restrictions dispute, press service of the country’s Economic Development Ministry reported Monday.
"Last year the Economic Development Ministry started the dispute settlement process within the WTO regarding the mentioned restrictions. Since Russia was not ready to settle the dispute at the first stage and failed to assume measures on lifting unjustified, discriminatory and economically inconvenient transit restrictions, the Ukrainian side proceeded with the case hearing as a matter of course and submitted a request to the WTO on creation of a group of experts in order to start the next stage of the consideration of the case on the merits," the Ministry said.
According to the report, Kiev is "currently collecting data for the next claim covering numerous bans and restrictions on imports of Ukrainian goods to Russia."
Starting January 1, 2016 the free trade zone regime between Ukraine and the European Union came into force. This forced Russia to assume measures aimed at mitigating risks for the country’s economy, the Foreign Ministry said, and suspended the free trade zone agreement with Ukraine. Thus, prior to the suspension of the free trade zone regime, all Ukrainian goods, excluding sugar, were delivered to Russia free of duties. Zeroing customs rates for European goods imported to Ukraine could move the flow of those goods to the Russian Federation.
Due to suspension of the free trade agreement between Ukraine and Russia President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on measures to ensure the country’s economic safety and national interests on transshipments from Ukraine to Kazakhstan via Russia. On July 1, 2016, President Putin amended the decree and extended its applicability to shipments to Kyrgyzstan. The document was extended until December 31, 2017.