Wednesday, July 10, 2013

EU takes on Russia in the automobile recycling fee case

I was expecting this soon but did not think it would happen this soon. I have blogged about the Russia recycling fee issue here, here and here. The BBC reported it here.

Reports from the WTO indicate that the EU has decided to file a WTO complaint (DS462) against the fee. This would be the first case in which Russia is facing the dispute settlement mechanism after it joined the WTO in 2012.

"The European Union notified the WTO Secretariat on 9 July 2013 of a request for consultations with the Russian Federation on measures imposed by Russia relating to a charge, the so called “recycling fee”, imposed on motor vehicles.

According to the European Union, these measures adversely affect exports of motor vehicles from the European Union to Russia. The EU claims that Russia subjects imported vehicles to the payment of a “recycling fee”.  In contrast, domestic vehicles are exempted from that payment under certain conditions. An exemption is also available to vehicles imported from certain countries, such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, there is no exemption for vehicles imported from the European Union.  As a result, vehicles imported into Russia from the European Union are treated less favourably than domestic vehicles, or vehicles imported from Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The EU also claims that the structure of the “recycling fee” also appears to afford protection to domestic production."

Well, the dispute was anticipated but the complainant and timing was uncertain. Russia's time to defend or amend? There was news about some amendment to the legislation that addressed the alleged discrimination. One will have to see what the Russian response to this is.

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