The EU will file a request for consultations with Russia today in Geneva, a European official said on condition of anonymity, as per usual diplomatic procedure. The 28-nation bloc claims the Russian fees are discriminatory.
Fees begin at about 420 euros ($541) for small cars and increase with the size of the vehicle. Russia has defended the tariffs on environmental grounds, noting that more than half of the cars now on its roads are 10 years or older and will soon be scrapped, according to the EU official.
It is the first EU complaint against Russia since its eastern neighbor joined the WTO in August 2012. The two sides will have 60 days to settle their differences. If no agreement is reached in that period, the EU can request a WTO dispute panel to rule on its claims.
“Our colleagues from the EU warned that they intend to send these documents to WTO,” said Russian trade official Ekaterina Mayorova in an e-mailed statement. “We have been expecting this development.”
The EU had expected Russian lawmakers to equalize fees between foreign and domestic carmakers, Mayorova said. The State Duma adjourned July 5 for its summer vacation without enacting the legislation.
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