Biden speech today: United States, European Union to revoke ‘most favored nation’ status for Russia over Ukraine invasion

President Joe Biden will announce on Friday that, along with the European Union and the Group of Seven, the United States will move to revoke the trade status of the “most favored nation” for Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

This according to a source familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the announcement. The individual said that each country should follow its own national procedures. Removing Russia’s most-favored-nation status would allow the United States and its allies to impose higher tariffs on certain Russian imports, increasing the isolation of the Russian economy in retaliation for the invasion.

Biden’s move comes as bipartisan pressure has mounted in Washington to revoke what is officially known as “permanent normal trade relations” with Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the United States and its allies to take action against Russia in a statement to Congress over the weekend. Days after Biden’s move to ban imports of Russian oil and gas products.

Biden, after the initially slow efforts of Congress to take trade action against Russia, was to embrace the legislator’s efforts to do just that on Friday.

MORE: Live Russia-Ukraine updates

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

Sanctions on Russian oil, gas and coal imports have cut about 60 percent of US imports from the country.

The status of the most favored nation requires a country to treat all countries with that status the same. The members of the World Trade Organization share this status, although some countries have special privileges because of their status as developing economies.

Cuba and North Korea do not have MFN status.

US tariffs on Russian products vary, but many of the major imports are either duty-free or would face a negligible increase in such taxes, Ed Gresser of the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington said in an online post.
This includes imports of uranium, rhodium and palladium, king crabs and silver and gold.

MORE: The Senate gives the final approval for the assistance to Ukraine, the budget bill on state expenditure

Instead of the current tariff rate, buyers of Russian goods would pay rates set by the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which cut trade during the Great Depression.

Tariffs will increase from zero to 30% for some types of ammunition and to 10% for certain types of diamonds.

On Monday, Democrats in the powerful House Rules & Media Committee issued and subsequently removed a statement on a bipartisan bill banning Russian oil imports and imposing further trade sanctions on the country, according to an aide, prompted by acting against the White House before Biden had coordinated with the Allies and reached a decision on both issues. Parliament on Wednesday passed a stricter bill banning imports of Russian energy after Biden enacted the ban by executive decree.

Canada was the first major US ally to oust Russia’s most-favored-nation nation last week.

Biden’s action was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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