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Russian-European "Pork Lawsuit" Upgraded Again

2019/02/27 18:36
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A few days ago, the European Union filed a lawsuit against Russia for banning imports of live pigs and pork products from the European Union, demanding compensation of 1.39 billion euros a year. The lawsuit has been accepted by the WTO. Russia strongly protests against this, and the State Duma claims that it is necessary to re-examine the need for accession to the WTO.
On January 12th, Danker Welter, director of the Russian agriculture supervision department, accused the EU countries of hiding the plague situation in an interview. According to real-time data, Russia has found a total of 1255 cases of African swine fever in the last 10 years, compared with 8233 cases in EU countries in the last three and a half years, he said.

"Deterioration" in the middle of the problem makes arbitration more difficult

In 2014, due to the occurrence of African swine fever in the Eastern European Union, Russia imposed an import ban on the European Union pig and some pig products. Later, due to Crimea's entry into Russia, tensions between Russia and the European Union escalated, and Europe and the United States jointly imposed a number of sanctions on Russia. Russia has adopted anti-sanctions against agricultural products from European countries, and bilateral pork trade has been banned. The ban has caused serious losses to farmers in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The EU believes that the import ban allows Russian meat companies to avoid competition with foreign companies and take the opportunity to expand their market share. In August 2016, the WTO expressed its support for most of the provisions of the EU complaint and found the Russian ban illegal. In response, Russia appealed that the epidemic situation in the relevant areas was still aggravating, but the appeal was rejected.

Recently, the European Union filed a claim with Russia. The World Trade Organization has submitted the lawsuit to the International Arbitration Court, which will be accepted within 60 days. The European Union requires Russia to pay Euro 1.39 billion a year in compensation to Europe, increasing by 15% annually. (Russia imported 1.39 billion euros of pork from the European Union in 2013.)* According to Politics. com, the European Union hopes to collect the 1.39 billion euros by raising taxes on Russian goods, rather than directly obtaining fines. Medvedekov, director of the Business Negotiations Department of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, agrees that the EU does not want "cash", but wants to suspend Russia's rights after its accession to the WTO.

Kalashnikov, the first vice-chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of the Russian Federation Committee (upper house of parliament), has said that if WTO makes a decision against Russia, Russia should limit its participation and may even withdraw from the WTO, because EU sanctions against Russia itself violate WTO rules. This remark has sharply escalated the attention of the incident.

The pork import ban was lifted after protests in Europe, although it was due to an outbreak in Europe. The deterioration of Russian-European relations brought about by the Ukrainian crisis has completely reversed the problem that originally existed only in the field of trade. Gripov, associate professor of national security at the Russian Federation's President's College of National Economy and Administration, believes that the EU is Russia's largest economic partner and that the situation will become very complicated if WTO supports the EU. "It's strange to argue quarantine after four years."

Zabarov, vice chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Federal Council, also believes that it is unfair for the European Union to ask for sanctions against Russia since 2014. Zabarov believes that if the WTO exists to allow the West to sanction Russia, Russia's accession to the WTO will be meaningless and troublesome.

In an interview with Russian television today, Vanin, a member of the International Lawyers'Union, said that if Russia recognizes the WTO ruling, it must implement it painfully. In the complaint of the European Union, it was mentioned that when swine fever broke out in Poland and other countries, the epidemic was also found in Russia. Russia has no restrictions on domestic meat companies. Russia's Ministry of Economic Development was not prepared to prove that companies had not purchased pork in the epidemic area, which would make Russia lose in arbitration.

Russian television commented today that the WTO has so far been reluctant to discuss the issue of political sanctions in a positive way, and whether it will intervene in the sanctions measures taken from the perspective of national security is still unknown.

Russia's Ministry of Economic Development said it did not consider "retirement"

There were many experts in Russia who believed that WTO accession would do more harm than good to Russia. After the upgrade of the "pork lawsuit" game, this trend of thought is more intense. Russia's Ministry of Economic Development declared on January 9 that becoming a member of the WTO means transparent legal environment in the external market. In the context of pursuing export diversification, Russia will not consider withdrawing from the WTO. However, on the 12th, parliamentarians from the Russian Communist Party, the State Duma, asked the government to explain the purpose of staying in the WTO. These parliamentarians believe that Russia's accession to the WTO will bring more losses than conveniences.

According to Tass, the case has been accepted and the WTO is currently appointing arbitrators. Over the next few days, the panel will examine the legality of the EU appeal to determine whether coercive measures against Russia should be taken. Medvedekov said that Russia could not understand the basis for the appeal, so Russia asked for an arbitration panel to meet to determine whether Russia had completed the original WTO ruling. Russian media analysis, the Ministry of Economic Development's statement fully illustrates the seriousness of the problem.

In an interview with the Russian Parliament newspaper, Beliayev, chief economist of the Russian Institute of Fund Market and Management, explained that accession to the WTO would be good for Russia. After all, it is an international organization dedicated to free and equal trade. However, the West has been trying to promote its own rules of the game within the WTO.

Although the Russian government said it would stay in the WTO, the "pork lawsuit" has not ended. Zabarov argues that Russia will refuse to enforce the complaint even if it is considered legitimate for its own interests.

Kossachov, chairman of the International Affairs Committee under the Russian Federation Commission, called on the WTO arbitration tribunal to fully comply with WTO rules and look at the matter from an economic perspective. In addition, Western sanctions against Russia