MEPs Back Trade Deals with Russia

By Editorial 04 June, 2012

The European Parliament's International Trade Committee has endorsed four trade agreements with Russia, covering Russian wood exports, car components trade, duties on raw materials and the services market.

The first pact, the deal on tariff-rate quotas for Russian exports of wood, will boost the supply from Russia to the European Union (EU) through an agreement that Russia will cut export duties from current levels and grant the EU relatively large quotas for lower-duty Russian exports. The agreement defines the rules for applying these quotas and prevents Russia from applying unpredictable increases to export duties, which have affected many EU producers in the past.

The EU woodworking industries import some 10% of the raw wood they use. Russia has been their main source over the past two decades, supplying up to 60% of all the EU's imported wood.

The deal on car components protects EU auto parts companies hit by Russian measures that will remain in force until 2018, even after Russia joins the WTO. These measures give foreign auto manufacturers incentives to relocate to Russia, and could discriminate against Russian imports of foreign car components. Under the agreement, if EU exports of car parts fall by 3% a year, Russia will reduce its import duties for EU car parts by a commensurate amount.

Next, when negotiating its accession to the WTO, Russia agreed to binding export tariffs for 80% of the raw materials it exports. The remaining 20% are materials of strategic importance for EU industries. Under the deal, Russia will consult and negotiate with the EU at least two months before it plans to increase export duties on the products listed in the agreement. This list includes agricultural products such as wheat, sunflower seeds, tobacco, animal skins, wool and cotton and a large number of earths and minerals.

The final agreement relates to the maritime transport market and work permits for EU business staff. The agreement on trade in services grants new opportunities for EU maritime transport agencies seeking to set up in Russia. It also gives preferential access to people working for European services companies who need to work in Russia in order to start a business there. It foresees a minimum quota of 16,000 work permits per year for this.

The four agreements will be subject to a vote at a European Parliament plenary in July.

Russia is expected to receive the approvals necessary to join the WTO by the end of the summer.

Tags: Expatriates | Russia | Tax | Business | Export Duty | Tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | Agreements | Manufacturing | Import Duty | Trade | European Union (EU) | Services | Europe |


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