Russia, which has just joined the World Trade Organization after years of difficult talks, must meet membership commitments or face the consequences if it does not, the European Union said Wednesday.
Just two weeks ahead of an EU-Russia summit aimed at improving sometimes frosty ties, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said Moscow was not doing enough now it is in the free trade club.
Brussels reserved the right to take its complaints to the WTO if talks failed to resolve the issues, de Gucht told a meeting at the European Parliament.
In several areas, "far from using its new membership of the WTO as a tool for broader reform, Russia is not even meeting its commitments."
"We would prefer to negotiate our way to a solution. That is the quickest and most cost effective way to resolve things," he said.
"However, if that does not prove possible we are most certainly prepared to use all the legal avenues at our disposal. And since Russia's accession, that includes dispute settlement at the WTO."
The EU "will not wait forever to reach agreement. And the clock is ticking."
De Gucht listed four areas of concern, among them fees for recycling cars which are levied only on auto imports and a ban on the import of live animals, a measure he said was designed to protect Russian producers.
In addition, Russia had unilaterally hiked tariffs on hundreds of imported products while a deal on wood exports -- "central to the accession deal" -- is proving much more burdensome for sales of wood domestically.
"This creates incentives for producers to discriminate against sales to exporters. These incentives need to be removed," de Gucht said.
"These are just some of the areas where we have questions about Russia's implementation of its WTO commitments. We are looking closely into all the issues to see if Europe's rights or interests are affected," he added.
At the same time, de Gucht noted the importance of ties with Russia, the EU's third largest trading partner with trade worth 300 billion euros and another 40 billion euros in services.
Noting that it took 19 years for Russia to gain WTO entry, the commissioner said membership was not the "end of a negotiation, it is the beginning of a process of reform" to modernise its economy, traditionally independent on exports of raw materials, especially oil and gas.
Russia must move from resource extraction and into higher-technology manufacturing and services and WTO membership will help this process, he said.