I have blogged about the first case Russia is facing on recycling fee on automobile imports at the WTO here, here and here. Now Japan seems to have joined the Russian roulette. Japan filed a WTO case against Russia details of which are found here.
"According to Japan, Russia’s measures appear to be inconsistent with its obligations under several articles of the GATT 1994, the Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
Japan claims that through the measures at issue, Russia imposes a recycling fee on each vehicle imported into Russia or produced/manufactured on the territory of Russia. Russia exempts from the recycling fee the vehicles manufactured or produced by companies that have committed to ensure subsequent safe handling of waste. However, this exemption is only available to vehicles manufactured by companies which are legal entities registered in Russia and which have undertaken to produce their vehicles in Russia according to one of the modes involving certain specific manufacturing operations in the territory of Russia, Belarus or Kazakhstan. Therefore, the measures at issue, through these conditions, either taken together or separately, discriminate between imported vehicles and the “like” domestic products."
It would be interesting to see Russia's response, it's legal team, preparation as well as next steps. Will it amend its domestic legislation or will it defend its measure as being consistent with WTO law. Or will it just not comply with an adverse WTO panel ruling, if it so happens!
All three are distinct possibilities.