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Russian import duties on German, Italian vans illegal, rules WTO

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(GENEVA) - Anti-dumping duties on vans imported from Italy and Germany, introduced by Russia in 2013, were declared illegal by a World Trade Organization panel saying the duties hindered exports of the vehicles.

The panel ruled Russia failed to observe a number of WTO rules when introducing the anti-dumping duties, which ranged from 23% to nearly 30% and affected exports of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from Italy, Germany and Turkey.

This is one of four WTO disputes that the EU has brought against Russia since it acceded to the WTO. The other cases concern an import ban on pigs and pork products, excess tariffs on imports of paper and other products, and a recycling fee on cars. In the cases of excess tariffs and the pork ban, two WTO panels found in 2016 that Russian measures were violating the WTO rules

"I am glad to see a very clear ruling by the WTO against one of the unfair, protectionist and anti-competitive measures that we see today in Russia", said the EU's Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem. The duties on light commercial vehicles are not in line with commitments by Russia at the time it joined the WTO. Those measures now have to be removed. I hope to see Russia honouring its international obligations and respecting this ruling without delay",

The panel sided with the EU on all procedural claims. It also recognised several problems with the analysis by Russia that led to the introduction of duties.

By excluding certain domestic producers from their calculations, the Russian authorities based their analysis of the damage allegedly caused to the domestic industry on unrealistic figures.

While assessing the effects of the alleged dumping, the authorities disregarded another factor: the overcapacity in the Russian LCV sector, which stood at that time at seven times what is actually sold on the Russian market.

The parties now have 60 days to appeal the decision. Otherwise, Russia will be expected to remove its anti-dumping duties on LCVs from the EU.

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