… Regarding the ban on live pigs, this is not in our view a WTO matter. It is a matter of public health, and this relates more to Russia-EU cooperation in the veterinary and phytosanitary field rather than trade per say…
“Russia has a number of complaints against the EU”
Interview with Vladimir Chizhov, Russian ambassador to EU
By Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt | Europolitics
Tuesday 15 January 2013
Russia's Permanent Representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, explains toEuropolitics his side of the story when it comes to EU-Russia trade conflicts. While he acknowledges the EU's concerns in the areas of live pigs and recycling fees for cars, he also notes Russia’s own issues, notably the third energy package, which could end up before the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Chizhov also touches upon the Syrian issue, explaining why the Kremlin is not in favour of removing President Bashar al-Assad from power.
Ever since Russia joined the WTO in August 2012, the EU has been criticising Moscow for not living up to its international commitments. These complaints range from a ban on EU imports of live pigs to a new law introducing fees for recycling cars. Are these complaints legitimate?
These complaints are well known on the Russian side. Regarding the ban on live pigs, this is not in our view a WTO matter. It is a matter of public health, and this relates more to Russia-EU cooperation in the veterinary and phytosanitary field rather than trade per say.
On cars and recycling fees, yes, this issue is being addressed. It is not the level of the fees – which is actually two to three times lower than in the EU – that is the issue, it is its application and the creation of an equal footing for all importers, local producers. The majority of cars currently produced in Russia are foreign makes, and most of them are European makes. This is an issue that is being thoroughly assessed by the Russian government and that is taking place following a discussion that was held in Brussels after the last Russia-EU summit [21 December 2012].
The EU has hinted many times that it was ready to file a complaint with the WTO over these issues...
The existing procedures include a number of steps prior to actually filing a complaint. Should it come to that, of course, Russia will be ready to address this issue. But Russia itself has a number of complaints against the European Union, and I will perhaps limit myself to one, referring to the so-called third energy package, which may at some point become an issue that will have to be discussed in the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO.
Can you explain briefly what the issue is with this third energy package?
The third energy package, as it is being implemented in a number of EU member states, amounts to a requisition of property and assets. The declared aim of that package of measures is to liberalise the energy market within the European Union, but the methods that are being employed, particularly in certain member states, amount to forced renationalisation, which is of course something that my country cannot agree with.
Are the two cases related?