RF Vehicle Utilization Fee contravenes WTO national treatment principle
Kyiv. September 3, 2012
to the Russian Federal Law "On Consumption and Industrial Wastes’
introducing vehicle utilization fee from September 1 undermine one of
the key World Trade Organization (WTO) principles, namely, national
treatment, states a Senior Associate of Volkov and Partners Law Firm, Andrii Zablotskyi.
August 22, Russia became a full-fledged WTO member, and, consequently,
undertook obligations set forth in official package of WTO Agreements.
Among other obligations is a national treatment regarding internal taxes
and regulations prescribed by Article 3 of the General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994)”, explained the lawyer.
him, the national treatment obligation requires that the RF may not
treat imported products less favourably than like (similar) domestic
products. And despite the Law does read that it applies to both imported
and domestic vehicles, section 6 of article 24.1 envisages some cases
allowing to avoid payment of utilization fee.
“One of the cases is
producer’s obligation to ensure further safe utilization of waste
associated with the disposal of vehicles that are no longer operational,
i.e. dispose of them. The foreigner (e.g. Ukrainian) can hardly
undertake this obligation,” believes Mr. Zablotskyi.
Hence, he said
that if the law is actually applied the foreign producers will face more
competition comparing to Russian producers, and reminded that the EU
has already expressed its worries concerning this discriminatory law.
Lawyer supposes that the issue may appear to be a subject for the first
hearing associated with Russia within the WTO dispute settlement
Reportedly, on September 1, 2012 the Law ‘On 30 percent
utilization fee for fleet vehicles’ entered into force. Currently, it
reads that utilization fee shall be paid for each vehicle, imported to
the Russian Federation or produced in Russia to support ecological
safety. The fee will be paid by persons importing cars to the Russian
Federation, and those producing the same on its territory.