MOSCOW (Sputnik) – There is a good chance that Russia will challenge US duties on steel and aluminum imports with the World Trade Organization (WTO), Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said.
“We have good prospects [in the dispute settlement]. The measures introduced by the United States are obviously at odds with the WTO rules. We are absolutely confident about our position. The decisions taken by the United States are way out of step with what was happening before, so the WTO court decision will be univocal,” Oreshkin said in an interview with the Russian Izvestiya newspaper.
The minister noted, however, that the WTO would make its ruling only if the organization’s activities were not blocked, which the United States was seeking to achieve.
“This concerns the operation of its appeals structure. The appointments of new judges are being blocked. The whole procedure of dispute settlement can be blocked due to this,” Oreshkin suggested.
Russia launched a WTO dispute with the United States after Washington introduced 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports and 25 percent duties on steel imports, provoking protests by a lot of metal producers from across the globe.
Iran, South Korea Agree to Cross-Currency Trade, Ditching Dollar — Reports
Meanwhile, using national currencies for bilateral financial transactions between Moscow and Beijing will not significantly affect the ruble rate Oreshkin said.
“No, the ruble is a stable currency as a whole. Macroeconomic policies, including inflation targeting and budget rules, that are implemented in our country, affect the rate more,” Oreshkin said in an interview with the Russian Izvestiya newspaper, when asked if switching to national currencies in Russian-Chinese trade had a potential to affect the ruble rate.
This shift to the use of yuan and ruble in the bilateral financial settlements was high on the agenda of Moscow-Beijing relations, the minister added.
Oreshkin explained that it was important to create comfortable conditions for market players to switch to the use of national currencies so they did not need to resort to using any third currency, which might additional expenses.
On Wednesday, the head of the Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, Igor Shuvalov, told reporters that Russia and China could sign an agreement on settlements in national currencies by the end of the year.
Over the recent months, several countries have spoken about the possibility of using only national currencies and abandoning the US dollar in international transactions due to various US policies.
US, China Trade War Continues: Beijing Vows Not to Erect Market Barriers
Particularly, Russia is currently working on a plan for the economy de-dollarization. Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev has said that the program would be approved by the end of this year.