US, allies to revoke ‘most favored nation’ status for Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden will announce Friday that, along with the European Union and the Group of Seven countries, the US will move to revoke “most favored nation” trade status for Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

That’s according to a source familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement. The person said each country would have to follow its own national processes. Stripping most favored nation status from Russia would allow the US and allies to impose tariffs on Russian imports, increasing the isolation of the Russian economy in retaliation for the invasion.

Biden’s move comes as bipartisan pressure has been building in Washington to revoke what is formally known as “permanent normal trade relations” with Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pressed the US and allies to take action against Russia in remarks to Congress over the weekend. It follows days after the Biden moved to ban imports of Russian oil and gas products.

Biden, after initially slow-walking congressional efforts to take trade action against Russia, was set to embrace lawmaker efforts to do just that on Friday.

The White House said Biden would speak Friday morning to announce “actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine.”

On Monday, Democrats on the powerful House Ways & Means Committee posted, then removed, an announcement on a bipartisan bill to ban Russian oil imports and slap further trade sanctions on the country, according to an aide, because of pushback from the White House against acting before Biden had coordinated with allies and reached a decision on both matters. The House voted Wednesday on a narrower bill to ban Russian energy imports after Biden instituted the ban by executive order.

Canada was the first major US ally to remove most favored nation status for Russia last week.

Biden’s action was first reported by Bloomberg News.

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