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European Businesses Highlight Main Barriers to Trade in Russia at Meeting with Commissioner Mandelson

European Businesses Highlight Main Barriers to Trade in Russia at Meeting with Commissioner Mandelson

AEB raises its concerns during meeting on the EU’s Market Access Strategy for Russia

On February 14, a delegation from the Association of European Businesses led by AEB Chairman Reiner Hartmann met with EU Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson during his two-day visit to Moscow to raise issues of concern for European business operating in Russia.

The meeting with Commissioner Mandelson represents the latest stage in the AEB’s cooperation with the European Commission on the EU’s Market Access Strategy, which seeks to ensure fair trade conditions for European companies operating in third-party states.

At the meeting, the AEB highlighted four main areas of concern for foreign businesses in Russia:

Customs : legal uncertainties in the Customs Code and uneven enforcement of customs regulations

Visas: burdensome bureaucratic procedures on both sides are posing an indirect barrier to EU-Russia trade

Taxation, in particular VAT refunds: businesses are facing unacceptable delays in claiming back taxes and are too often forced to turn to the court system.

Intellectual Property Rights: improvements have been made in this area and enforcement of the new law on patents is very much welcomed by European business. However, improvement is still needed in terms of its implementation by the Russian authorities.

Commissioner Mandelson reiterated the need for European businesses in Russia to work closely with the EC in identifying concrete cases of trade barriers that discriminate against European companies.

AEB Chairman Reiner Hartmann commented: “The feedback from European companies about conditions on the ground here in Russia is vitally important in helping the European Commission formulate appropriate policies and responses within the framework of its Market Access Strategy. The AEB is grateful to the Commission for having launched this useful initiative and will certainly intensify its participation in the process”.

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