The European Union will launch a challenge against Russia’s vehicle recycling fees at the World Trade Organization on Tuesday, the Interfax news agency has reported, citing a source in the Ministry of Economic Development.

This is the first challenge against Russia since the country joined the WTO in August 2012, said the source.

On September 1, 2012, Russia began charging recycling fees for cars and trucks manufactured on its territory or imported from other countries, excluding member-countries of the Common Economic Area (Belarus and Kazakhstan). The basic amount of the fee is RUR 20,000 (USD 600). Exceptions to the recycling fees were granted to certain categories of people entitled to privileges during importation of automobiles into the country, as well as to manufacturers that voluntarily guarantee safe recycling of vehicles manufactured by them.

The manufacturers providing such guarantees include AvtoVAZ, KAMAZ, the GAZ group, and Sollers. Thus, none of the main Russian automobile manufacturers pays the recycling fees.

According to experts, the recycling fees was introduced with the aim of protecting Russian automobile manufacturers after the reduction of the customs duties on imported cars following Russia's accession to the WTO. The European Union has harshly criticized the mechanism for collecting the recycling fees, and this issue has been raised repeatedly in bilateral negotiations.

In May, the government of Russia approved a bill that was expected to address the objections of the European Union. The document provided for extending the recycling fee to local manufacturers by denying them the competitive advantages that the EU authorities believe violate the rules of the WTO. However, this document was not considered during the recently concluded spring session of the State Duma. It was not even submitted to the relevant committee of the State Duma.