Russia appeals to WTO over EU duties on Russian steel

An electric arc furnace (EAF) is seen at the NLMK Kaluga steel mill in Vorsino outside Kaluga, Russia, July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Monday it was appealing to the World Trade Organisation to settle a dispute with the European Union over anti-dumping duties imposed on its steelmakers.

The EU in August introduced duties of up to 36.1 percent on Russian cold rolled steel, a product used in the construction and automotive industries, following allegations Russian steelmakers were exporting at unfairly low prices. It also imposed duties on Chinese cold rolled steel.

The Russian Economy Ministry said it had sent a request to the WTO to help resolve the dispute.

"The reason for the suit was multiple violations of WTO rules committed by the European Commission during its anti-dumping investigation," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia's NLMK and Severstal, two of the country's largest steelmakers, lodged formal complaints against the European Commission in June, alleging bullying by its officials during their investigation.

NLMK, which employs over 2,000 people in Europe, said the investigation was conducted "in flagrant violation of all possible norms and standards."

"The decision to impose anti-dumping duties is absurd and NLMK Group continues to deny accusations of dumping on the EU market," the company said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Severstal said the company maintained the EU investigation had been conducted improperly and it supported the economy ministry's actions.

The WTO last week threw out a number of EU complaints in a dispute over Russian anti-dumping duties imposed on German and Italian light commercial vehicles.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Alexander Winning and Susan Fenton)