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Ukraine turns to WTO in railway equipment row with Russia

Ukraine on Wednesday launched a dispute before the World Trade Organization, complaining that Russian restrictions on imports of Ukrainian railway equipment violate international trade agreements.

“Ukraine claims that since late 2013, the conformity assessment certificates for railway products imported from Ukraine into Russia have been suspended without any explanation, and new applications have been rejected,” WTO said.

According to Kiev, this effectively amounts to a Russian ban on imports of Ukraine-made railway equipment.

Ukraine, which has been battered by an 18-month war with pro-Russian separatists, maintains that the Russian measures break a range of WTO rules.

Kiev’s request for consultations marks the first step in the WTO dispute system, which requires that the parties begin talks within 30 days.

If the consultations fail, the WTO, which polices global trade accords in an effort to ensure a level playing field for its member economies, can create a panel of experts to review the case.

Wednesday’s complaint was the first filed by Ukraine since it became a WTO member in 2008.

So far this year, 11 disputes have been launched before the world trade body — six of them against Russia.