EU considers suspending equal treatment for Russia at WTO

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A logo is pictured on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) building before a ministerial meeting to discuss a draft agreement on curbing subsidies for the fisheries industry in Geneva, Switzerland, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, March 3 (Reuters) - The European Union said it waslooking into suspending 'most-favoured nation' (MFN) treatment for Russia at the World Trade Organization over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, meaning the blocwould be able to hike tariffs or set quotas on Russian imports.

"We are discussing options available to us in the WTO context. This includes the possibility of removing MFN treatment to Russia on the basis of the WTO national security exception," a European Commission spokesperson said on Thursday.

Trade representatives from EU countries are due to discuss options in Brussels on Friday.

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The most-favoured nation principle involves treating all other WTO members, including Russia, equally.

Excluding bilateral trade agreements, the European Union on average applied tariffs of 5.1% on imports from WTO members in 2019, according to WTO data, with higher rates for agricultural products than for industrial goods.

EU imports from Russia were worth 95.3 billion euros ($105.4 billion) in 2020, according to the European Commission, about 70% of them oil and gas and sizeable chunks agriculture and raw materials, chemicals, iron and steel.

($1 = 0.9043 euros)

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Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens

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