Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 52

The introduction of anti-dumping duties, or the threat thereof, is becoming an increasingly important barrier to Russian and Ukrainian export growth. (Itar-Tass, March 11; Lvov Infobank, March 6) Vladimir Lisin, an official of the Novolipetsk metallurgy plant in Russia, recently told an international metallurgical conference in London that Russian steel exports, which reached $11 billion in 1996, face the threat of anti-dumping proceedings in the U.S., the European Union, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada, Chile, Brazil, the Philippines, Turkey, and Taiwan. Thailand has recently introduced a fresh 44 percent anti-dumping levy on Russian hot-rolled steel sheets. Lisin’s remarks followed a call on March 5 by Andriy Honcharuk, Ukraine’s deputy minister of foreign economic relations and trade, for the EU to relax its anti-dumping strictures against Ukrainian exports. According to Ministry officials, since 1991 the EU has initiated anti-dumping proceedings against 15 classes of Ukrainian exports, which account for almost 10 percent of total trade turnover between Ukraine and the EU. Although Ukraine’s exports to the EU have increased significantly since 1991, revenues from exports to the EU that have been subject to antidumping penalties have declined 2.2 times.

These complaints underscore the unfortunate international economic position in which Russia, Ukraine, and the other Soviet successor states find themselves. Due to pressure from domestic producers, U.S. and EU trade policies continue to classify most of these countries as "non-market economies," against which the World Trade Organization sanctions the unilateral imposition of anti-dumping duties. Since — in contrast to the Eastern European countries — the CIS and Baltic economies are not members of the WTO, they do not have protection from such unilateral, selective protectionist measures. Nor do they have recourse to the WTO’s dispute-resolution mechanisms for trade conflicts. While the transitional economies can threaten to retaliate against these countries’ imports, the unequal trading relations between the Soviet successor states and the developed economies generally discredit such threats.

The Baltic and many of the CIS economies are currently negotiating for WTO membership, and would appear to have introduced the domestic and external trade liberalization required for successful applications. Political factors, however, remain an obstacle, and are likely to be discussed at the Helsinki summit meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents later this month.

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