Biden urges Russia to end its normal trade relations

This would enable the White House to impose tariffs on Russian products.

Biden urges Russia to end its normal trade relations

WASHINGTON -- Friday's President Joe Biden called for Congress to join the European Union (EU) and the Group of Seven industrial countries in suspending normal trade relations with Russia. This would allow new tariffs to be imposed as a response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Biden made a speech in which he stated that the U.S. would also ban Russian imports of seafood, vodka, and diamonds. This would deny Moscow more than $1B in export revenues according to a White House estimate.

Biden stated that Putin was the aggressor. "And Putin must pay the price."

Reestablishing normal trade relations would require congressional action in the United States. This would eliminate Russia's status of "most preferred nation," which is a classification within World Trade Organization that exempts a country form tariffs.

This comes after the U.S., along with its European allies, have hit Russia with round upon round of economic sanctions to try and squeeze Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the International Monetary Fund, Russia will enter a "deep recession" in 2012.

Biden stated that Putin's relentless assault on the United States continues. The United States and its allies and partners are continuing to work together to increase economic pressures on Putin, and further isolate Russia on the global stage.

According to the president, he will also sign an executive order prohibiting U.S. exports high-end products that are often purchased by Russian elites. This includes watches, luxury vehicles and clothing. According to the White House, the annual value of luxury goods covered by the ban amounts to $550 million.

Biden stated that he had spoken with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, earlier Friday morning. He reiterated his support of the country.

It is possible that Congress will support reopening trade relations with Russia. The House passed legislation earlier this week on a 414-17 vote. It banned Russian oil imports and energy products, and also took steps to examine Russia's participation in the World Trade Organization.

Biden thanked Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for agreeing to delay ending normal trade relations between Russia and the United States until Biden stated that he could "line-up all of our key allies in order to keep us in complete unity."

Washington is divided by many issues. Biden stated that standing for democracy in Ukraine and pushing back against Russia's aggression should not be one issue. "A free world will confront Putin together."

Biden stated that Russia would find it more difficult to do business with the U.S. and that coordination of the decision with other countries "will be another crushing blow for the Russian economy."

It was not clear how significant the move would have. Russia is not among the U.S.'s most important trading partners. Russia was 26th in terms of goods trading partners in 2019, with $29 billion worth of exports to the United States in 2021.

The top imports from Russia are oil and gas products, which the U.S. has already prohibited -- along with precious metal and stones, iron and steel and fertilizers and other inorganic chemicals.

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