By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The United States has accused Russia of breaking World Trade Organization rules by imposing tariffs in retaliation for U.S. duties that targeted Russian steel and aluminum.
The August 29 filing with the trade organization said Russia tariffs applied only to U.S. products and not to goods from any other country.
It also charged that the Russian duties exceeded the maximum allowed under membership terms with the organization, known as the WTO.
The filing initiates a 60-day consultation period that allows the parties to settle the dispute bilaterally. If no agreement is reached, the United States could ask the WTO to decide the matter.
Washington imposed tariffs of 25 percent on foreign steel and 10 percent on aluminum in March, citing national security reasons. They mainly targeted China but affected other countries as well, including Russia.
State-run TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying Moscow would use a “broad range” of counterarguments to defend itself in the WTO.
Moscow said on July 6 it was imposing additional import tariffs on some U.S. products in response to U.S. moves, focusing on goods for which there are Russian-made substitutes.
The tariffs of 25 to 40 percent applied to some road-construction equipment, oil and gas equipment, metal-processing instruments, drilling equipment, and optical fiber.
The ministry said the measures were designed to compensate for $88 million in damages suffered by Russian export-focused companies as a result of the U.S. metals tariffs. It suggested additional moves were possible.