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EU rejects Russia’s inquiry in WTO on establishing arbitral group on Third Energy Package

June 19, 2015, 16:51 UTC+3 GENEVA
By rejecting the inquiry, the EU did not violate the WTO rules
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© EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

GENEVA, June 19. /TASS/. The European Union has rejected Russia’s inquiry in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the establishment of an arbitral group on considering a claim on the Third Energy Package. The reconsideration is scheduled for July 20, WTO spokesman Joseph Bosch told TASS on Friday.

He noted that Russia’s inquiry had been rejected by the European Union at Friday’s session of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, adding that this issue would be considered again at the next session on July 20.

By rejecting the inquiry, the EU did not violate the WTO rules. According to them, a party against which a complaint is filed has the right to block a request on forming an arbitral group on one occasion. However, during the reconsideration on July 20 the decision on establishing the group will be 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.

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

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