Joe Biden announced on Friday that the U.S. and its allies are moving to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status following its invasion of Ukraine.
The White House also announced a series of other steps aimed at sanctioning Russia by isolating its economy, including a ban on imports of seafood, Russian vodka and non-industrial diamonds.
“We’re going to hit Putin harder because the United States and our closest allies and partners are acting unison,” Biden said, adding that the sanctions so far have been “crushing the Russian economy.”
Private companies, from film studios to restaurant chains, also have paused or suspended operations in Russia.
The “most favored nation” status generally recognizes that all trading partners get equal treatment. Without it, the U.S. and other countries can impose higher tariffs on a number of Russian imports.
Congress will have to pass legislation to suspend the preferred trade relations with Russia. Biden singled out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for agreeing to hold off on action until “I could line up all of our key allies to keep us in complete unison.”
At the end of Biden’s remarks, he was asked about the White House’s warning that Russia may use chemical weapons or a “false flag” operation to use them. But the president declined to talk about what evidence they have for that assessment. “Russia would pay a severe price if they use chemical weapons,” Biden said.
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