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WTO confirms Ukraine appealed against Russia over transit restrictions

On 14 September, Ukraine notified WTO that it has initiated dispute proceedings

GENEVA, September 15. /TASS/. The World Trade Organization (WTO) confirmed that Ukraine had filed a complaint against Russia over transit restrictions dispute.

"On 14 September, Ukraine notified the WTO Secretariat that it has initiated WTO dispute proceedings against the Russian Federation regarding measures allegedly imposed by Russia on traffic in transit from Ukraine through Russia," the Organization said in a press release.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade said earlier that "in order to mitigate negative consequences for Ukraine’s international economic interests the appeal procedure within WTO has been launched regarding transit restrictions imposed by the Russian Federation."

Earlier Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv said that Kiev considers transit restrictions "groundless and not in line with the WTO agreements’ norms."

According to the data provided by Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the transit limitations totally caused a 35.1% decrease in exports of the country’s commodities to the markets of Central Europe, Central Asia and Caucasus in the first half of this year.

"The total loss of export of goods to Kazakhstan (annual) and Kyrgyzstan (in the second half of the year) are estimated at around 400 mln," the ministry reported.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Economic Development Ministry said that Ukraine had applied to the WTO requesting consultations with Russia on transit restrictions.

The consultations that will last for 60 days, is an obligatory pretrial stage of the dispute resolution. If the sides fail to find a mutually acceptable solution within this period of time, the side that initiated consultations has the right to establish an arbitration group, the Ministry said.

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.