WTO confirms Russian import duties violate WTO rules

A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel confirmed this week that Russian import duties on paper, refrigerators and palm oil violate WTO rules. The import duties exceed those Russia agreed to when it joined the WTO. This is the first case ever decided in the WTO against Russia.

Despite being a WTO member since August 2012, Russia has not yet fulfilled some of its commitments made before its accession.

This includes one of the WTO’s most fundamental rules, according to which its members must not apply customs duties in excess of the ‘bound rates’ they commit themselves to in their respective Schedules.

Following a dispute settlement procedure activated by the EU in October 2014, the WTO panel fully agreed that Russia’s customs duties on paper, refrigerators and palm oil are inconsistent with its WTO commitments.

The panel report can be appealed within 60 days. If no appeal is filed within that deadline the report will be adopted and Russia will be bound to comply with the recommendation to bring all the concerned measures into line with WTO rules.

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