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WTO rules in Russia’s favor in dispute with Ukraine over transit of goods

Russia had grounds for imposing restrictions on Ukrainian cargo transit through Russian territory, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body decided, according to the report published on Friday.

"The Panel found that WTO panels have jurisdiction to review aspects of a Member's invocation of Article XXI(b)(iii), that Russia had met the requirements for invoking Article XXI(b)(iii) in relation to the measures at issue, and therefore, that the transit bans and restrictions were covered by Article XXI(b)(iii) of the GATT 1994,"

According to the report, "Russia asserted that the measures were among those that it considered necessary for the protection of its essential security interests, which it took in response to the emergency in international relations that occurred in 2014, and which presented threats to Russia's essential security interests". As a result, "the Panel lacked jurisdiction to further address the matter".

Russia imposed restrictions on transit of Ukrainian goods to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 2016. From January 1, 2016, the free trade zone between Ukraine and the EU came into force. In the circumstances, Russia, according to the Foreign Ministry, was forced to take measures that leveled the risks for its economy and suspended the free trade zone agreement in relation to Ukraine. In February 2017, Ukraine asked WTO panel to consider its complaints against Russia.



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