On Friday, President Biden announced that the US will downgrade Russia’s trade status and ban more Russian imports, including vodka, seafood, and diamonds.
The move, which requires legislation from Congress, would revoke Russia’s status as a “most-favored nation.” The change paves the way for the US to be able to put high tariffs on Russian goods and implement other trade barriers.
Biden said the US was taking the step along with its NATO, G7, and EU allies. “Doing it in unison with other nations that make up half of the global economy will be another crushing blow to the Russian economy that’s already suffering very badly from our sanctions,” he said.
“We’re also taking a further step of banning imports of goods from several signature sectors of the Russian economy, including seafoods, vodka, and diamonds,” Biden added.
According to The Wall Street Journal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said Congress will introduce a piece of legislation next week to change Russia’s trade status. The bill is expected to pass since there is a bipartisan consensus in Washington to further sanction Russia even though the measures are also hurting Americans, who are facing record-high gas prices and inflation.
While the Western sanctions have done nothing to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, they have taken a toll on Russia’s economy, and ordinary Russians are feeling the pain. Biden boasted of the damage the sanctions have done to Russia’s economy.
“The totality of our sanctions and export controls is crushing the Russian economy,” Biden said. “The ruble has lost more than half its value. They tell me it takes about 200 rubles to equal 1 dollar these days. The Moscow stock exchange has been closed for fully — for two weeks because they know the moment it opens, it will probably collapse,” he said.