Friday, July 5, 2013

US on Russia's WTO commitments

The USTR's first annual report on "Report on WTO Enforcement Actions:Russia" is out. Stewart and Stewart has this brief analysis of the Report.After Russia's entry into the WTO after more than a decade of accession efforts, it is time compliance challenges are gradually faced. Though all issues may not lead to disputes, it will be raised at various fora and opportunities by other WTO members.

I have earlier blogged here and here about a potential challenge of a Russian regulation regarding motor vehicle re-cycling duty that allegedly discriminates foreign and domestic car manufacturers. I was curious to know what this report stated about recycling fee issue.

Here it is:

"Motor Vehicle Recycling Fee

In September 2012, Russia introduced a “recycling fee” on sales of wheeled vehicles for the announced purpose of covering the cost of establishing a recycling industry. Domestic manufacturers of wheeled vehicles, however, do not have to pay the fee if they agree to assume the responsibility to recycle the vehicle at the end of its life. Both bilaterally as well as in meetings of the WTO Council for Trade in Goods, the United States, along with other Members, has objected strenuously to the apparent discriminatory nature of the fee. The United States also has registered its concern with the amount of the fee itself, particularly on large construction vehicles, and submitted written questions to the Russian delegation seeking further information about implementation of the program. In response to these concerns, on May 30, the Russian Duma published proposed amendments to the recycling law that would revise the program and apply the fee to domestically produced vehicles as well as to imports. USTR will monitor carefully the implementation of this stated commitment to ensure that our objectives are achieved."

So as of now, it is potentially open to challenge? No WTO dispute for now but a potential dispute settlement case, perhaps the first one for Russia? Business Beyond the Reef seems to think the modification should work.


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