Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Alexei Rakhmanov
Does the country's accession to the WTO pose real threats to the Russian automobile industry?
- Of course. For any growing market that is trying to create a favorable investment climate, always one of the main dangers is the import of used goods. And any country, including the most developed, is trying to protect its market from cheap imports. Foreign automobile concerns that work with us consider it extremely harmful to themselves and Russia as a whole if second-hand cars flood here again. This is a direct threat to the implementation of their plans, to investment in Russia. In addition, do not forget that old cars are a threat to the safety of our citizens.
Particularly alarming is the situation with commercial vehicles. I do not understand why the countries of Europe have set the bar for customs duties on the import of new trucks at 22%, and we must immediately lower it to 15%. This condition was fixed during the negotiations on joining the WTO back in 2004-2007, in a completely different situation; since then, consultations on the topic have not been conducted. Now we are forced to start discussing a whole range of market protection measures, including recycling fees, which you probably were going to ask about. They are designed to solve the problem of emerging threats to our industry, our market. The Federal Accreditation Service, which has recently begun work, is doing the same.
And what kind of service is this?
- The Federal Accreditation Service operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Development and is involved in, among other things, accreditation of certification bodies and supervision of their work. Previously, Rostekhregulirovanie and Rosstandart were in charge of this. So, now the legality of issuing certificates of compliance with Euro-4 standards, vehicle type approvals is being checked. And amazing facts are revealed! I can say that already 18 organizations are deprived of the right to issue certificates; 10 criminal cases were opened: the facts of forgery and fraud were revealed. For example, in Blagoveshchensk, a large company imported large consignments of Chinese trucks that met Euro-2 standards, but all of them had Euro-4 certificates! “Savings” on each truck amounted to at least 6-8 thousand euros. Who issued these certificates? This should not go unpunished. We need to clean up.
“Yes, but what does the disposal charge have to do with it?”
- Will explain. Under the WTO, the application of regulation through customs duties is limited by the terms of the relevant agreements. However, non-tariff regulatory methods exist. You must be able to use them wisely. We have already begun the first anti-dumping investigation regarding the import of light commercial vehicles into the Russian Federation. There is still much to learn, because in legal battles we are not very strong yet …
The WTO is a systemic organization, but absolutely cynical, and the right person will be able to prove that he has more rights. We believe that we have the right to introduce recycling charges.
“And when will they be introduced?”
- Amendments to the relevant laws are now under consideration in the State Duma, this is a mandatory procedure. I hope that these amendments will come into force in the fall. I can’t talk about the size of these fees: they have not yet been approved.
“But it’s already clear that the amounts are rather large, especially if they relate to used trucks.” Where will these deductions go? And most importantly, we will have a recycling fee, but will the processing industry finally appear?
- There is an agreement with the Ministry of Finance on how to use this money after they get to the budget. I repeat: amendments to the State Duma have not yet passed, so I’m saying with a certain lead. So, a significant part of these funds will go specifically to support recycling. Several options are currently being considered. The first is compensation for enterprises that are engaged in recycling for the period of formation of the business. These are the same about 3 thousand rubles that the owners of the cars handed over for recycling paid out of their premiums as part of the recycling experiment in 2010-2011.
In general, can recycling be a profitable business?
- Of course, we have all the calculations. But the return is after some time. And one more thing: profitability depends on the depth of processing and volumes. At the first stage, we would like to support such enterprises. The second option is assistance: we can consider the option of state guarantees for such industries through banks with state participation. In any case, you need to create a transparent system for dismantling old cars from scratch. Like in Germany, for example. There is a two-level system. First, they get rid of technical fluids and disassemble the car into units to send them directly for processing. And there, let’s say, the metal is ground into small fractions and sent to metallurgical plants. So it is necessary first of all to establish a civilized system for the circulation of secondary spare parts.
But during the disposal experiment they simply banned - absolutely! - any use of used parts …
- They knew the specifics of this market well, so I had to go for such a measure. But she is needed. Now we are preparing such projects, and this is a very complex topic. Because, on the one hand, one cannot forget about safety, on the other, why not allow the reuse of some elements of the body, doors, bumpers, side windows, etc.? You can sell such details to citizens with a low level of income, if they are marked, recognized as not affecting the safety of the car as a whole. Naturally, we are not talking about the suspension, braking system, etc. - it is impossible to use such parts repeatedly in any case! In a word, now, together with the Ministry of Natural Resources, we are thinking about how to organize a modern waste processing industry, how to finance it … These issues are only being discussed.
Do not forget another important topic, although it is regulated by other laws - on environmental protection. Cars, especially in cities, are major air pollutants. And we plan to direct a large share of the funds from the utilization fee to compensate for this harm.
It turns out that only those who import cars into Russia will compensate for it? But the air that was collected here also pollutes the air …
- Russian manufacturers pay taxes in our country, which partially go to the maintenance of the healthcare system, they make significant contributions to the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund, etc. Now it’s just considering introducing another system in parallel with the recycling system - age limits for commercial vehicles. Moreover, the requirement applies to both purely Russian companies and foreign companies that have factories with us. There will be no discrimination.
Are you not afraid that other WTO member countries will try within the organization to prevent the emergence of such a disposal system in the Russian Federation? After all, it really infringes on the interests of, say, companies that sell used foreign cars, creates obstacles to the free movement of goods …
- Mandatory. But here we return to the conversation that the WTO is an organization where each country tries to protect its interests with the help of legal methods. We are ready to prove on the legal field, confirm with calculations that we have the right to such protective measures for our industry within the framework of the WTO. And oddly enough, it would seem, this sounds, all our initiatives to introduce recycling fees, warranty obligations for recycling are an attempt to create equal working conditions for our companies and for foreigners in Russia.