By on February 13, 2013

An alleged environmental measure will land Russia in the court of the World Trade Organization, a club Russia had joined only in August.  Importers have to pay a “recycling fee” of around 5 percent of a car’s sticker price, local makers do not.  “Russia’s trading partners say the new levy is a purely protectionist play under the guise of environmental ‘recycling’,” Reuters writes. “The European Union Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht, has threatened to invoke the disputes procedure of the World Trade Organization.”

President Vladimir Putin in late 2010 started what TTAC called an “invest here, or else” policy. It slapped prohibitive  tariffs on imported cars and gave preferential treatment to companies that build in Russia. (On both stories, Putin received congratulatory comments from TTAC’s UAW cheering section. Putin’s American fans would love to see his policies get adopted in America.)

The policy nearly blocked Russia’s entry into the WTO. Russia was admitted after, says Reuters, “Moscow signed up to a series of tariff cuts, lowering import duties on cars from 30 percent to 25 percent from September 2012, on the way to a final rate of 15 percent by 2016.”

The surcharge, which is levied on imported cars only, is “blatantly discriminatory,” says Fredrik Erixon, a director at the European Centre for International Political Economy. He predicts that “Russia is going to find itself being sued by a lot of different countries on a lot of issues.”

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10 Comments on “Putin’s Strong-Arm Auto Policies Create Anger Abroad...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is that Putin’s Grindr profile pic?

  • avatar
    Onus

    Does the WTO have a problem with the chicken tax here in the USA? Isn’t it sorta the same. If not a bigger barrier. Being 25% import duty and all?

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      WTO is not there to be against all import duties. In fact, WTO is not against anything. WTO is an arbitration body whose goal is to bring order to trade disputes between its members. If a member considers some trade practice illegal, then they ask WTO to arbitrate the dispute. Note that for a country to become a WTO member, it has to sign an trade agreement with all existing members. Since the USA is a member of WTO, I assume that all existing members had no issue with the chicken tax when they joined WTO. It is the new barriers to trade that may contradict the previous agreements that may be considered illegal, if WTO rules this way. The main goal of WTO is to prevent 1920s style trade spontaneous and unregulated wars which are a great economic evil. In this case, Russia created a new law which others deem an illegal trade barrier, based on Russia’s original commitments when it joined the WTO.

  • avatar
    KrisZ

    “Russia is going to find itself being sued by a lot of different countries on a lot of issues.”

    Yeah right! Russia is so afraid of western lawyers and their law suits just like China is afraid of getting sued over copy rights and patents.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Is he sitting on a squat toilet? “Who does No.2 work for?!”

  • avatar
    skor

    Putin looking out for the best interests of Russia? The bastard! Burn him on a pyre of dogeared copies of Atlas Shrugged!

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I wouldn’t f.ck with him – any of ya’ll ever read some of the sh!t he’s done? The man is certainly no candy-ass politician.

  • avatar
    amca

    He’s just dreamy . . . such a hot Dad.

    We need to start a Gay Guys Who Are Hot For Putin page.

    Li’l Vlad would have a stroke.


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