Trade: the United States wants to stifle Russia

Posted on April 9, 2022, 9:07 AMUpdated on April 9, 2022, 10:56 AM

The measure nearly won the unanimity of the United States Congress. The Senate and House of Representatives will have the withdrawal of commercial status of Russia and Belarus, in response to the war that had started in Ukraine. The Senate voted the text by 100 votes to 0, the House by 420 votes to 3, before Joe Biden finally signed the entry into force.

Washington is thus depriving Russia of its “most favored nation clause”, a basic principle of reciprocity in free trade. As a result, the United States is opening the way for heavy trade sanctions and giving itself the right to heavily tax imports of Russian products. This may in particular concern steel and aluminum. Only two other countries are currently being deprived of this clause by Washington: Cuba and North Korea.

“No Time to Waste”

“We have no time to lose and we must immediately punish Vladimir Putin,” said Massachusetts Democratic congressman Richard Neal. “No country whose military commits war crimes deserves free trade status with the United States,” added Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer.

The Congress also approved the Joe Bidens decides to impose an embargo total on Russian oil imports and demands that the federal government calls for Russia’s suspension of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Some of these measures were passed by the House of Representatives last month, as the energy bill mirrors the executive order that Joe Biden signed in early March. But elements of the language remained noticeably different. Those differences had been overcome earlier in the week, clearing the way for a vote.

Rampant inflation

While Congress was working on these texts, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against two new companies controlled by the Russian state: Alrosa, a mining giant that accounts for 90% of the diamonds mined in Russia alone and 28% of the world market. , and the United States Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), Russia’s largest shipbuilder, which has built nearly all of the country’s warships.

Washington hopes these new sanctions will further weaken Moscow. According to a White House report citing experts, Russia’s GDP is expected to fall by 15% this year, while inflation is already close to 15%. Total imports of Russian products amounted to $30 billion in the United States last year, including $17.5 billion in crude oil, which is now banned.

Mimi Reinhardt, Oskar Schindler’s secretary, passed away at 107

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