US House votes to suspend normal trade relations with Russia

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US House of Representatives has voted to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, paving the way for the US government to impose higher tariffs on Russian goods.

The lower chamber on Thursday approved the measure by vote of 424-8, with a few Republicans voting against, sending the legislation to the Senate, Xinhua news agency reported.

The House vote came just a few days after US President Joe Biden announced that the administration would revoke Russia’s most-favored nation trade status amid the Ukraine crisis, along with Group of Seven (G7) countries and the European Union.

Biden also signed an executive order banning Russian seafood imports, as well as alcohol and certain diamonds. In addition, it bans the sale of US luxury goods to Russia, including high-end vehicles, luxury watches and top-shelf jewelry.

The US also recently banned oil and gas imports from Russia, although they accounted for less than 10 per cent of US energy imports.

Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and senior United Nations advisor, recently told Xinhua that sanctions, which cause considerable damage, are “unlikely” to succeed in their political aims.

“The US and EU are very energetic in the imposition of sanctions, trade barriers, technology barriers, and financial barriers towards Russia… I do not agree with this,” Sachs said.

Negotiation and compromise would be “much wiser”, he said.

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