The European Union has taken action against Russia at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over a recycling fee that the EU says is harming EU car exports. It is the first challenge to face Moscow since it joined the WTO in 2012.
The EU notified the WTO Secretariat of a request for consultations with the Russian Federation on measures imposed by Russia relating to a charge imposed on motor vehicles.
According to the EU, the measures adversely affect exports of motor vehicles from the EU to Russia. In its complaint, the EU says Russia subjects imported vehicles to the payment of a “recycling fee.” In contrast, domestic vehicles are exempted from that payment under certain conditions. An exemption also is available to vehicles imported from certain countries, such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, there is no exemption for vehicles imported from the European Union. As a result, the EU contends, vehicles imported into Russia from the EU are treated less favorably.
According to its complaint, the EU says that since the introduction of the “recycling fee” it has seen a 7 percent decline in exports of automobiles to Russia. A decrease at that rate represents roughly 10 billion euros per year in commerce. As well, it creates an additional 1.3 billion euros in annual revenue flowing to the Russian government.
The fee has been designed to aid Russia in the cost of recycling older vehicles. However, the EU contends that the fees, which can range to be as high as 2,700 eruos for new cars and 17,200 euros for used ones, makes it more cost prohibitive to ship vehicles from the EU to Russia.