Ban on the export of luxury goods to Russia and the lifting of “commercial privileges”. Vodka and caviar banished. The EU announces other restrictions today: the steel industry will be hit
from our correspondent
WASHINGTON – Another blow, but still to be weighed, to the Russian economy. Joe Biden announces new restrictions
, agreed with the G7 countries, therefore Italy included. The most glaring measure is the ban on the import of vodka, caviar and diamonds. And the symmetrical prohibition of exporting “luxury goods” to Russia. The American president explained that the goal is “to increase the pressure on Vladimir Putin
and his accomplices, isolating them more and more from the international community “. Immediately after Biden’s brief speech, the White House released the communiqué developed by the seven most industrialized countries: the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada. First of all, Russia will be deprived of the status of “most favored nation for some products”.
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In essence, commercial concessions will be eliminated for some categories of goods, for example reduced duties, fast procedures and so on. What will the impact be? The United States imports Russian goods worth $ 36 billion. The item “fish and shellfish and more”, therefore broader than caviar alone, amounts to 1.2 billion dollars. The “precious stones”, therefore not only diamonds, 2.9 billion; “Alcoholic beverages” are worth just $ 25 million (2021 data). It is true that in the letter sent by Biden to the leaders of Congress it is specified that “other products may also be banned, in agreement with the State Department and the Department of Commerce.”
But there is no doubt that the effect of this American embargo it can be absorbed by the Russian system. The European side is another matter. In 2020, the EU was Russia’s most important trading partner. Trade amounts to € 257 billion: the Union imports goods worth € 158 billion and exports € 99 billion. However, it will be necessary to understand if and how the G7 decision will also be adopted by the other European partners. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said that today “a fourth package will be launched to further isolate Russia”. The measure will follow the pattern of the G7, with a significant addition: “we will ban the importation of key goods in the Russian steel sector”.
United States, Japan, Canada and the European Union they will try to prevent the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank from making further loans to Moscow. Furthermore, the Western Front will see to it that the benefits granted by the World Trade Organization to Russia, as the “most favored nation”, are revoked. A “fiscal tightening” on the oligarchs is also expected, with greater surveillance on the movements of cryptocurrencies, “so that they cannot circumvent the sanctions,” explains von der Leyen.
Politically, this move is consistent with the strategy followed so far by Biden and shared by European leaders. No direct involvement in the conflict, but increasingly harsh economic sanctions, to the point of forcing Putin on the defensive. The US government is convinced that the Kremlin leader will soon be in trouble. The day before yesterday, the director of the CIA, William Burns, explained in a hearing in the Senate: «Putin has no viable way out of the war. He is a prisoner of his own wrong assessments of him. He thought he could resist Western sanctions. He is discovering that this is not the case. “
March 11, 2022 (change March 11, 2022 | 22:42)
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