US House Backs Removal of ‘Most-Favored’ Trade Status for Russia, Belarus


The latest on the RussiaUkraine crisis, March 18. Click here for updates from March 17.

US House Backs Removal of ‘Most-Favored’ Trade Status for Russia, Belarus

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly backed legislation on Thursday to remove “most favored nation” trade status for Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine, paving the way for higher tariffs on imports from the countries.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 424-8 in favor of removing Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status, the latest congressional effort to put economic pressure on Moscow.

To become law, the measure must also pass the Senate. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it would move through the Senate quickly, after approval by the House.

The move to revoke Russia’s status at the World Trade Organization is being coordinated with similar efforts by other G7 democracies. It would automatically raise U.S. tariffs to non-WTO rates for imports from Russia and it authorizes U.S. President Joe Biden to proclaim higher tariff rates on products from both Russia and Belarus.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry Official Meets With Russia’s Ambassador to China

A Chinese foreign ministry official met with Russia’s ambassador to China on March 17 to exchange views on bilateral relations, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Cheng Guoping, Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Affairs at China’s foreign ministry, met with Andrey Denisov of Russia and exchanged views on bilateral counter-terrorism and security cooperation, according to the statement.

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Australia Sanctions Russian Billionaires With Mining Industry Links

Australia imposed sanctions on Friday on two Russian oligarchs with links to its mining industry, one of them a billionaire with an investment connection to Rio Tinto’s Gladstone alumina refinery joint venture.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia was working in close cooperation with international partners to increase sanctions pressure on oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

“Australia has now added two billionaires with links to business interests in Australia, Oleg Deripaska, and Viktor Vekselberg,” Payne said in a statement.

The measures are in addition to curbs on 41 oligarchs and immediate family members who already face targeted financial sanctions and travel bans, she said.

Payne said the government welcomed Australian companies taking a principled stand with moves to cut ties with Russia “in protest of Moscow’s illegal, indefensible war against Ukraine.

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Japan Slaps New Sanctions on Russian Defence Officials, Arms Exporter

Japan said on Friday it will impose sanctions against 15 Russian individuals and nine organisations, including defence officials and state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

The sanctions, which include asset freezing, are the latest in a series of measures by Japan following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Japan has now slapped sanctions on 76 individuals, seven banks, and 12 other organisations in Russia, according to the finance ministry.

The government on Friday designated Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and several military equipment makers including United Aircraft Corp, which manufactures fighter jets.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to the report

Epoch Times Staff

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