Biden to push for ending normal trade relations with Russia

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Friday is expected to call on Congress to join the European Union and the Group of Seven Industrial Nations in suspending normal trade relations with Russia, allowing new tariffs to be imposed in response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Revoking normal trade relations, which requires congressional action in the United States, would end Russia’s status as a “most favored nation,” a classification within the World Trade Organization that exempts a country from tariffs.

The move comes as the US and its European allies have hit Russia with round after round of economic sanctions in an effort to squeeze Russian President Vladimir Putin. The International Monetary Fund is predicting that Russia will plunge into a “deep recession” this year.

The White House said Biden would announce “actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine” at 10:15 am ET Friday.

It is unclear how much of an impact ending normal trade relations would have. Russia is not one of the US’s top trading partners, with its exports to the US totaling $ 29 billion in 2021.

Top imports from Russia include oil and gas products – which the US has already banned – as well as precious metal and stone, iron and steel, fertilizers and inorganic chemicals. Caviar, vodka and plywood could also be affected.

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