CIS Economic Court rejects Minsk\'s request for temporary ban on Russia\'s oil export duty

The CIS Economic Court on Thursday rejected Minsk's request for a temporary ban on Russia's export duty on crude oil supplied to Belarus, BelaPAN reports.

The Belarusian government had asked the Court to impose the ban pending the consideration of its suit seeking the complete abolition of the duty.

The Belarusian justice ministry filed the suit on March 25, saying that international agreements concluded within the CIS and the Eurasian Economic Community, as well as bilateral agreements between Belarus and Russia “provide for duty-free trade,” while Russia has been levying an export duty on deliveries of “petrochemical raw materials” and petrochemical products to Belarus since January 1, 2010.

Commenting on the Court's decision, the Belarusian justice ministry expressed regret and said that the "unlawful" duty was severing cooperation ties between Belarusian and Russian industrial enterprises and damaging the business interests of more than 70 petrochemical companies based in both countries.

The ministry noted that the Court had not upheld a single request filed by Minsk in the case but expressed hope that the suit would be given an impartial, comprehensive and fair consideration by the Court.

The next hearing on the case will be held on September 7.

Russian government officials welcomed the suit as a civilized way of settling bilateral disputes.

But it is not clear whether the Court’s judgment will be binding, with Moscow saying that the Court is authorized to issue only advisory decisions.