A house vote Thursday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus in response to the Russian military assault on Ukraine, setting the stage for President Joe Biden to impose higher tariffs on more goods and further weaken the Russian economy.
Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, seafood, alcohol, diamonds, and liquefied natural gas have already been stopped from entering the country. As a result of the vote on Thursday, certain steel, aluminum, and plywood items will be more expensive to import.
424 to 8. It is expected that the Senate will consider the measure soon for final approval.
In coordination with the European Union and the Group of Seven, the broad trade action would revoke Russia’s most favored nation status. Votes by the House of Representatives followed a plea by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Congress and U.S. allies to deter Russia’.
In a video address to Congress, Zelenskyy said, “We must ensure that the Russians do not receive a penny that can be used to destroy people in Ukraine.”
Zelenskyy’s remarks “only strengthened our resolve” to further weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin, said two of the bill’s authors in a joint statement released to introduce the trade bill.
According to the two lawmakers, “We must hold Putin accountable for the senseless attacks on the Ukrainian people and undermining of global stability.” They added: “We must suspend normal trade relations to restore peace, save lives, and defend democracy.”
Members of the WTO are required to share their lowest tariff rates with all other members. In 2012, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill conferring the president with the authority to extend normal trade relations with Russia following Russia’s entry into the WTO. Some countries enact exceptions, however, to protect national security.
If an exception is revoked, it would have mostly symbolic significance. About 60% of U.S. imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal were already stopped by earlier sanctions, but some sectors may still feel the effects.
Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said
Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “Today, both Democrats and Republicans have continued to give Putin a clear message: his inhumane oppression of the Ukrainian people will not go unpunished.”
Tariffs decrease the competitiveness of imports by increasing the costs for U.S. companies. As companies can generally turn to other suppliers, the effects on American consumers will be modest in most sectors, according to Timothy Brightbill, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP who specializes in international trade law. Consumers understand that supply chains in the U.S. should no longer pass through Russia.
Brightbill believes American consumers would be pleased to pay a bit more to ensure that their products and raw materials don’t support Russia.
In addition, he proposed revoking the status of Russia’s trade relationship as a clear message to China that the U.S. will not tolerate hostile actions against Taiwan.
During the debate, both parties pushed for its passage, despite eight Republicans voting against the measure. An earlier version was introduced by Democratic Reps. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.
As far as I’m concerned, what Putin does in Ukraine — bombing civilians, initiating attacks on children — defies human civility, said Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House. Having committed war crimes, he should be held accountable.”
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Victoria Spartz, a member of the Indiana Republican Party who was born in Ukraine, sends a message to Putin and his allies, saying, “We are serious.”
There can’t be business as usual after killing a bunch of people, destroying cities, and killing women and children, Spartz said.