The court of Post-Soviet economic bloc EurAsEC will hear its first ever economic dispute on Tuesday between South Kuzbass, the coal subsidiary of Russian mining giant Mechel and Siberian customs officials, Kommersant business daily reported.
The court, which has been functioning since the start of this year, will examine its first case, initiated by South Kuzbass, which claims that inconsistent interpretation of Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) legislation has cost it 17 million rubles ($515,000) in fines imposed by customs in the Kemerovo region.
Experts quoted by the paper say the lawsuit aims to draw attention to economically unjustified administrative barriers in trade between the EurAsEC member states, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
South Kuzbass is challenging some provisions of a decision by the Customs Union Commission, later renamed into the Eurasian Economic Commission, obliging companies exporting coal from Russia to file customs declarations.
Customs declarations have been kept for the purposes of recording mutual trade statistics, although all customs duties within Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have been cancelled.
South Kuzbass stopped filing customs declarations on coal exports to Kazakhstan from July 1, 2011.
South Kuzbass claims its decision to limit reporting to statistical statements was interpreted by the Kemerovo customs – which instituted three administrative cases against the coal company – as a breach of EurAsEC legislation.
Kemerovo customs said it had imposed fines worth a total of 17million rubles on the coal miner.
Mechel and the Eurasian Economic Commission have declined to comment until the court gives a ruling.