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Beyond revoking trading privileges accorded to Russia, US President Joe Biden said Washington would also ban imports of its vodka, diamonds and seafood
Washington and its allies moved Friday to end normal trade relations with Russia, as President Joe Biden vowed the West would make Vladimir Putin “pay the price” for his invasion of Ukraine.
Biden announced the new step, which would enable Western nations to inflict steep tariff hikes on Moscow, in coordination with NATO allies, the Group of Seven and the European Union.
Warning in a speech at the White House that “Putin must pay the price” as the “aggressor” in its ex-Soviet neighbor, Biden said the US move would be mirrored by similar steps in allied nations.
“The United States and our allies and partners continue in lockstep to ramp up the economic pressures on Putin and to further isolate Russia on the global stage,” Biden said.
A key principle of the World Trade Organization, the so-called favored status known in the United States as permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) requires member countries to guarantee one another equal tariff and regulatory treatment.
Stripping Moscow of the designation, granted in December 2012, would allow Biden to impose steep tariffs on Russian goods or restrict imports of some products.
The new trade sanction would cap several rounds of measures intended to sever Russia’s economic and financial ties with the rest of the world over its invasion of the ex-Soviet nation.
Together, the moves have already pushed Moscow to the brink of a debt default.
Those steps have also caused prices for key commodities, like gasoline and wheat, to soar, harming US consumers already facing the highest inflation in four decades.
“US direct trade with Russia is relatively small, so higher tariffs would not do much damage to them but could raise costs for our manufacturers who rely on them for key raw materials,” said William Reinsch of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
The United States imported just under $30 billion in goods from Russia last year, including $17.5 billion in crude oil.
The Washington-based crisis lender this week approved $1.4 billion in fast-disbursing aid for Ukraine, and the World Bank also released nearly $500 million of what is expected to be a $3 billion financing package to aid the war-wracked country.
The $13.6 billion relief package is more than double what the Biden administration initially requested, and includes aid for refugees, the military and support for NATO allies in eastern Europe.
Originally published as US, allies to end normal trade relations with Russia