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· Russia to contest 1.39-bln-euro EU sanctions demand over pork import ban
· Russia should leave WTO over EU pork row – officials say
Russia to contest 1.39-bln-euro EU sanctions demand over pork import ban
Source: Xinhua | Editor: huaxia
Via: New China | 2018-01-11
MOSCOW, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Russia intends to challenge in the World Trade Organization (WTO) a move by the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions to the tune of at least 1.39 billion euros (about 1.66 billion U.S. dollars) on it over Moscow's ban on pork imports from European markets.
"We intend to call a special WTO panel before the end of January and ask it to determine the correctness of our actions," said Maxim Medvedkov, head of the Russian Economic Development Ministry's trade negotiations department.
"If it makes such a determination, then the EU from our point of view will lose the right to impose the retaliatory measures," he said in a telephone interview with Russia 24 TV channel Tuesday.
However, Medvedkov added that if the panel found shortcomings in Russia's actions, it "could make corrections or sit down at the negotiating table again."
In January 2014, Russia shut off its market to European live pigs and pork due to an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in Lithuania and Poland.
This left EU pork exporters, bereft of a key market, with a massive oversupply. Subsequently, the EU complained to the WTO.
In 2017, at the request of the WTO, Russia lifted the import ban on EU countries except for ASF-affected territories.
But imports have still not resumed due to a food embargo imposed by Moscow on the EU in 2014 in response to Western sanctions over Crimea and the Ukrainian conflict.
The EU recently requested the WTO's dispute settlement body (DSB) to allow it to impose sanctions on Russia...
Russia should leave WTO over EU pork row – officials say
Vladislav Vorotnikov, Pig Progress
Jan 11, 2018
Several top Russian officials have suggested the country should suspend its WTO membership, should its arbitration panel decide to fine Russia for introducing pork import restrictions towards the EU in 2013.
The top officials can be found in the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament. For instance Sergey Kalashnikov, deputy chairman of the council’s Economic Committee, was quoted as saying Russia would have to refrain from participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO), ‘probably completely’, if the WTO court would agree with the demands of the European Union (EU).
“Russia should protect its interests”
He was supported by Vladimir Djabarov, deputy chairman of the council’s Foreign Affairs Committee. He told local press that “Russia must protect its interests in full, up to the withdrawal from the WTO.” He added that Russia could not execute the decision to pay € 1.39 billion/year of sanctions, due to the associated ‘damage to the national economy’.
Djabarov said that Russia should follow the example of the United States, which according to him “doesn’t recognise the jurisdiction of any international courts”.
African Swine Fever inside the EU
Russia closed its borders for pork from the European Union when in 2013 African Swine Fever (ASF) was discovered in EU member states, i.e. the Baltic states and Poland. Complicating the situation is that an additional trade ban was instated 1 year later as a result of geopolitical tensions related to the Crimea.
Should Russia decide not pay the fine, then the EU is entitled to charge import duties for compensation purposes. The EU has asked permission for a penalty for up to € 1.39 billion/year – an amount against which Russia has protested. The WTO arbitration panel is now to decide about the matter.
Russia benefited from WTO membership ...
Russian pork export jeopardised ...
Aim to become a net pork exporter ...