Freitag, 23. August 2013

EU launching WTO consultations with Russia

On 9 July 2013, the European Union has launched consultations with the Russian Federation under the WTO dispute settlement procedure concerning the Russian vehicle recycling fee

Shortly after its accession to the WTO (on 22 August 2012) Russia introduced a vehicle recycling fee. According to applicable legislation, all vehicle producers have to pay this fee. However, an exception is made for Russian producers as well as for producers from Belarus and Kazakhstan (members of the Customs Union) who can give a guarantee of recycling their vehicles in the future. In this case they do not have to pay the recycling fee. Producers from other countries are not entitled to this guarantee option.
The European Union and a number of other WTO members find this provision discriminatory under WTO rules and tried to persuade Russia to change its laws. After several months of negotiations Russian officials said the issue would be solved and reported that necessary amendments were under way. The EU has set a deadline for such amendments on 1 July 2013, but the Russian Parliament was not able to complete the necessary parliamentary procedures before this date. The dispute is still pending.      

Tajikistan in the WTO

On 10 December 2012, the WTO General Council approved the accession package of Tajikistan. This country applied for WTO membership on 29 May 2001. The accession negotiations were concluded on 26 October 2012.
Tajikistan managed to complete its domestic ratification procedures very quickly, and became the 159th WTO member on 2 March 2013.
Tajikistani experts expect that this step will help to integrate Tajikistan into the world economy and attract foreign investors.
There exists however another point of view which regards the Tajikistani WTO accession rather as a matter of prestige than economic sense. According to this perspective, at this stage, joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia would bring Tajikistan more economic benefits than accession to the WTO, bearing in mind that the CIS market (the biggest share of which belongs to the Customs Union member states) is now most important for Tajikistan.
In any case, Tajikistan is now a WTO member and should try to use the relevant WTO instruments to develop its economy.

Donnerstag, 22. August 2013

Model WTO in Moscow

On 26-28 November 2012, Dr. Marina Trunk-Fedorova acted as a member of the jury panel at the new international student competition “Model WTO“, which was organized by and held at the Russian Academy of Foreign Trade of  the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation (Moscow) .
The “Model WTO” is a student contest organized shortly after Russia became a WTO member on 22 August 2012. Student teams had to qualify first in a written round and then to present their positions  in an oral round in Moscow. 
The jury panel included representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, lawyers from international law firms dealing with WTO issues, and legal scholars recognized in the field of international trade law.

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