Warsaw has asked the European Commission to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding Russia’s ban on EU food imports. The impact of the Russian embargo is being analyzed by the EU and preliminary EU consultations about the case are already underway.
“Regarding the WTO, the Commissioner informed the minister (Poland’s Marek Sawicki) that the Commission is actively preparing a procedure for a possible launching of a request for consultations under the WTO dispute settlement procedure,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano stated.
The Russian ban has affected the Polish market in particularly. Poland’s exports to Russia amounted to $1.5bn last year. The Polish minister of economy sent a request to the European Trade Commissioner, who represents EU members in all WTO cases.
Preliminary EU consultations were already underway in the lawsuit, according to Polish officials, who also have stated that the US, Australia and Canada will also be important to the case, and that Polish Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski is expected to engage those nations.
The Russian ban was ordered as a response to economic sanctions imposed on Russia as punishment for Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and further incursions in Ukraine over the past months.
The EU Commission is carefully analyzing the impact of the Russian embargo, according to Stano, and the first decisions about the lawsuit could be made around September 12, according to the Polish agriculture minister.
Russia would be liable to pay fines for violating regulations in open markets, should the WTO find for the Polish cause.
The case is uncertain however. Although the EU justifies its sanctions against Russia as a response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and arming, advising and promoting conflict in Easter Ukraine, Russia argues that it has acted legally and is not aiding pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
By Day Blakely Donaldson