MOSCOW, July 9 (RAPSI) - The World Trade Organization may start hearing a Russia-EU car recycling fee dispute in September, unless the sides find a peaceful solution by that time, the press service of the Economic Development Ministry reported on Tuesday.

"We have not yet received an official notification of the EU launching the official procedure, but EU colleagues have told us off the record that there are plans to submit the documents to the WTO in the near future," ministry representative Yekaterina Mayorova said.

She said the EU hoped Russia would resolve the car recycling fee issue by July 1 by adopting amendments to the law on industrial and consumer waste to level off the fee for Russian and foreign automakers. However, the amendments have not been adopted and the State Duma has left for its summer recess.

"The EU has therefore decided that we will have to settle the issue in accordance with the formal dispute settlement procedure," Mayorova said.

Under WTO rules, Russia has 60 days to satisfy EU concerns about the recycling fee by changing or explaining its policy. After that the EU can ask the WTO to adjudicate, which could force Moscow to change the rules or face trade sanctions.

"If the EU initiates the procedure today, the issue will proceed from formal consultations to a WTO hearing on September 7," the ministry spokesperson said.

The EU plans to launch the first trade dispute against Russia at the WTO later on Tuesday, challenging Moscow's car recycling levy, Reuters said, quoting EU diplomats.

Cutting car import taxes was a major stumbling block in Russia's 18-year negotiation to join the WTO. Moscow agreed to do so, but critics say the recycling fee, collected up-front when a car is imported, effectively cancels out the lower taxes.