The WTO first ruled against Russia


Panel of arbitrators at the world trade organization (WTO) on Friday ruled in favor of the European Union in a dispute with Russia on tariffs for paper, palm oil and refrigerators, to information on the organization’s website. The arbitrators found that Russia had used excessive duties on the importation of these products from the EU, thereby departing from the General agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT) 1994.

The EU challenged a total of 12 Russian measures relating to the application of tariffs on imported European goods. Panel of arbitrators acknowledged that 11 of these measures — application of customs duties in accordance with the common customs tariff of the Eurasian economic Union to the European products from paper, products from palm oil and refrigerators violate the commitments Russia made when joining the WTO. Another, the twelfth, the claim of the EU were more abstract and refers to the “systematic variation of duties” on the part of Russia, but the WTO panel considered this claim unfounded, according to the organization’s website.

The European Union in October 2014 has requested consultations with Russia on the issue of import duties for paper products, refrigerators and palm oil, and in February 2015 was asked to convene a panel of arbitrators to resolve the dispute. As explained by the European Commission upon accession to the WTO, Russia has committed to keep its import duties below the limits specified in the instruments of accession. However, Russia, according to the EU continued to impose a number of goods a higher duty than was agreed.

Issued on Friday, the decision still can be appealed, is the first decision under the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO concerning Russia since its accession in 2012. In the WTO there are several disputes between the EU and Russia.