The move allows US President Joe Biden to impose higher tariffs on more Russian products to further weaken the Russian economy. The action is being coordinated with efforts from the European Union and G7 countries. The US has already taken steps to stop imports of Russian oil, natural gas, seafood, alcohol, and diamonds.
In response to Russia's continuous attack on Ukraine, the House of Representatives voted on Thursday to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and its partner Belarus until 2024.
The bill suspending normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus received bipartisan support, but eight Republicans in the House voted against it, allowing President Joe Biden to impose heavier taxes on more Russian goods. In a tweet, Representative Thomas Massie said the bill would give the president "broad ability to sanction nearly anyone, anywhere in the globe, whether or not they are connected to Russia."
The Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act is the most recent in a series of sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
By suspending Russia's participation in the World Trade Organization and withdrawing the country's "most favored nation" status, the law allows Biden to impose greater taxes on Russian exports such as aluminum, plywood, and steel.
Russia's onslaught on Ukraine is now in its fourth week, with the dead toll and destruction continuing to increase. Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed fresh information on the crisis, including how Russia is preparing to deploy a chemical weapon and then blaming Ukraine to build a false narrative and justify the use of even more lethal force. According to Blinken, Russian President Vladimir Putin is also kidnapping local politicians and replacing them with puppets, and this trend will continue.
The vote comes a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Congress to take tougher sanctions against Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a speech to Congress.
In a video message to Congress, Zelenskyy said, "I'm asking to make sure that the Russians do not receive a single penny that they use to destroy people in Ukraine."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with US President Joe Biden. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the Ukrainian Congress from Kyiv, where his country is still at war with Russian forces in what officials term an unjustified invasion by President Vladimir Putin. Members of Congress, Zelenskyy said, should help establish a no-fly zone and continue to impose additional sanctions until the Russian military ceases its assault. After presenting a video of the damage in Ukraine, Zelenskyy spoke in English to emphasize the importance of his request.
According to the World Trade Organization, the "most favored nation" principle was created after WWII to ensure that trading rights were not based on a country's political or economic weight. Without the designation, countries trading with Russia will not be required to treat it similarly and will be able to levy higher duties on its goods.
Despite the fact that Belarus is not directly involved in the conflict with Ukraine, it served as a staging area for Russian forces on Ukraine's northwest border prior to the invasion. In February, the State Department warned Americans to avoid traveling to Belarus because of its role in the conflict.
The measure instructs the US government to: To "use the United States' voice and influence" to prevent Belarus from becoming a full member of the World Trade Organization and encourage other countries to rescind Russia and Belarus' trade privileges.
Biden would be able to resume normal trade connections with Russia and Belarus if they ended the war in Ukraine and met other requirements, according to the proposal. With a disapproval resolution, Congress might overturn the judgment.
Reps. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) co-sponsored the bill. On the House floor, Neal stated that the US must do "all in our power" to hold Russia accountable for the "hourly crimes" it commits in Ukraine. "American dollars will no longer subsidize Russia's war machine," Brady said, highlighting the bill's bipartisan support.