WTO Will Review EU Dispute Over Russian Procurement Discrimination
(Bloomberg) -- The World Trade Organization agreed to review a European Union dispute complaint that alleged Russia illegally discriminated against 290 billion euros ($328 billion) worth of European goods.
During a meeting in Geneva on Monday, the WTO dispute settlement body agreed to establish a panel of three trade experts to evaluate the case and render an initial decision.
The dispute is among the largest ever in value terms to be mediated at the Geneva-based trade body and it could take as long as three years for the WTO to issue an initial ruling. At that point, Russia could effectively veto the decision by appealing it to the WTO’s non-functional appellate body.
In July the EU challenged the legality of three Russian measures that the European Commission says restrict or prevent EU companies from selling goods and services to Russian state-owned enterprises.
Specifically, the EU alleged that Russia unfairly assessed the price of procurement bids for imported goods and services; applied arbitrary and discriminatory requirements on foreign engineering products; and imposed national-quota requirements that favored domestic products.
In the statement, the European Commission said the measures collectively violate the WTO’s national treatment principle, which requires WTO members to treat foreign and domestic producers in a non-discriminatory manner.
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