Senator offers bill to revoke Russia’s trade status

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) speaks to a reporter following a Senate Democratic luncheon on Thursday, November 18, 2021 as the Senate discuss moving forward with debating the National Defense Authorization Act.
Greg Nash

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would revoke Russia’s trade status, which allows lower tariffs for Russian goods, in response to its invasion in Ukraine.

Under the legislation, it would do away with Russia’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status. Compared to countries who sell products in the U.S. and do not have a PNTR trade status, Russia goods in the U.S. are subject to lower tariffs. 

The bill gives President Biden authority to raise tariffs on Russian goods and would also have the president urge the U.S. Mission to the World Trade Organization “to use the voice and influence of the United States at the World Trade Organization to seek the suspension of the membership of the Russian Federation in the World Trade Organization.”

“[Vladimir] Putin’s unjustified, unprovoked and appalling invasion of Ukraine shows he doesn’t believe international laws apply to Russia. You don’t get to do that and still benefit from normal trade relations,” Wyden said in a statement.

“I urge my colleagues to set partisanship aside and quickly revoke Russia’s most-favored-nation trade status to send a clear message to Putin that the invasion of Ukraine will have devastating consequences for his regime.”

The U.S. government so far has sanctioned a number of Russian entities for their involvement related to the invasion, including Russian elites and their family members, sovereign debt, financial institutions, certain banks from the SWIFT international banking system, Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s foreign minister.

The Russian invasion has been widely condemned by the international community and at home in Moscow, where thousands have been arrested for protesting against the conflict. 

Even those who have sought close ties with Putin or spoken of him favorably are speaking out against the invasion, including former President Trump.

“They have to stop killing these people,” Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo in an interview on Wednesday, speaking about Russia.  “They’re killing all of these people, and they have to stop it, and they have to stop it now.

“But they don’t respect the United States and the United States is like, I don’t know, they’re not doing anything about it. This is a — this is a holocaust. This is a horrible thing that’s happening. You’re witnessing and you’re seeing it on television every night.”

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden Maria Bartiromo Ron Wyden Ron Wyden Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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