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Western sanctions violate WTO principles: Putin

WTO logo/FILE

WTO logo/FILE

MOSCOU, September 18- Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday slammed the European Union and the United States for violating basic World Trade Organization principles in their bid to punish Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

“Limits introduced against Russia are none other than a rejection by some of our partners of basic WTO principles,” he told a government meeting in televised comments. 

“This is all done in a politicised manner, without any observation of WTO norms.”

“The principle of equal access for all countries to markets for goods and services is being violated. The regime of ‘most favoured nation’ treatment and the principle of free and fair competition are being ignored,” said the Russian president.

“Essentially, a group of countries unilaterally allowed themselves to cross out these and a number of other WTO principles and rules for Russia, which is among the world’s six largest economies.”

Washington and Brussels introduced several rounds of biting sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s “unacceptable behaviour” in Ukraine.

The Kremlin retaliated by ordering an embargo on Western food supplies in August and threatened to ban imports of cars and consumer goods such as clothes.

“We understand that there are things which are obviously more important for our partners than the normal state of the world economy,” Putin said icily.

“Let God be their judge, that’s their decision,” he said, referring to Western sanctions.

The EU said in August it might appeal to the WTO over Moscow’s ban on its food and agricultural products.

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Russia joined the global trade body in 2012 after 16 years of talks.

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