The European Union has expressed its interest in joining as a third party the review of a trade dispute between Ukraine and Russia, initiated by Kyiv in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to lift trade and transit restrictions imposed by Moscow against Ukrainian exports in January 2016, Ukraine`s Trade Representative Natalia Mykolska.
She said that today, February 20, the Ukrainian delegation spoke at the meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, demanding to convene an expert group to review the dispute and assess the many restrictions imposed by Russia.
”However, as expected, Russia has used its right to reject the request to convene an expert group,” said Mykolska. ”Ukraine will continue the process of contesting Russian restrictive measures and submit its demand at the next meeting of the dispute settlement body.”
She noted that at the next meeting, the group will be set irrespective of Russia`s position of Russia, according to WTO regulations. At the same time, the trade envoy did not elaborate on the date of another meeting on the Ukrainian-Russian dispute.
Earlier, Ukraine in mid-February, in the framework of its membership in the World Trade Organization, filed a lawsuit against Russia over numerous transit restrictions on Ukrainian goods imposed by Moscow in 2016. The formal reason for the introduction of restrictive measures was the entry into force of the Ukraine-EU Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. In winter 2016, the exports of Ukrainian goods to Russia were significantly limited, which was followed by a total embargo on food exports from Ukraine to Russia. In July last year, Russia continued its policy of trade restrictions, halting the transit of Ukrainian goods via its territory toward third countries, especially Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
As noted in the Ministry of Economic Development, as a result of restrictions imposed by Russia, Ukrainian exports to third countries – namely, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – decreased significantly – by 38.3% compared to 2015. About 79% of deliveries to Kazakhstan and 95% of deliveries to Kyrgyzstan were more or less affected by transit restrictions. Direct losses from Russia`s restrictive measures amounted to $0.4 billion.