* EU says Russian bans on live animal exports is unfair
* Russia joined WTO this year
* Links soured by energy disputes
BRUSSELS, Dec 5 Time is running out for Russia
to settle trade disputes with the European Union on everything
from pigs to cars, the EU trade chief said on Wednesday,
threatening to take Moscow to the World Trade Organization now
it is a member of the body.
The European Union says Russia, one of its biggest trade
partners, unfairly levies fees on imported vehicles,
unreasonably bans EU exports of live animals and makes it costly
for the bloc to export hundreds of products, especially wood.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said he saw little
willingness in Moscow to overcome EU complaints, setting up a
potentially tense EU-Russia summit in Brussels on Dec. 21, which
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend.
"The European Union will not wait forever to reach
agreement. And the clock is ticking," De Gucht said in a speech
prepared for delivery in Brussels on Wednesday.
"We are most certainly prepared to use all the legal avenues
at our disposal, and since Russia's accession, that includes
dispute settlement at the WTO," he added.
Russia joined the WTO this year after a 19-year wait and
Putin has said the country would use its membership to develop
worldwide trade links.
But he said in November the country's $1.9 trillion economy
could suffer from WTO entry due to the increase in imports that
Russia's team at the WTO is not fully up and running,
something which may be delaying an EU decision to launch a case
at the global body.
Ending its trade disputes with Russia would help the
European Union, which is hoping hoping exports will revive its
economy. Russia already buys 10 percent of EU farm exports.
The European Union - a market of 500 million relatively
wealthy consumers - is Russia's biggest trading partner and a
big buyer of Russian energy.
The total bilateral trading relationship is worth 340
billion euros ($445 billion) a year in goods and services,
according to the European Commission.
But the two sides regularly argue about energy supplies,
market access and human rights, among other issues.
The Commission opened an investigation in September into
allegations Russia's Gazprom was abusing its dominant
position in central and eastern Europe in gas markets.
For its part, Russia may contest EU energy rules at the WTO,
in what would be its first trade formal dispute at the global