WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden on Friday called on Congress to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, allowing strict tariffs to be imposed in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking from the White House, the President announced the U.S. would ban imports of Russian diamonds, seafood, and vodka — which will see Moscow lose over $1 billion in export revenues, according to a White House estimate.
Revoking normal trade relations requires congressional action in the United States and Biden pleaded with Congress Friday to make it happen.
“The United States and our Allies and partners continue to work in lockstep to ramp up the economic pressure on Putin and to further isolate Russia on the global stage,” Biden said.
“Revoking PNTR for Russia is going to make it harder for Russia to do business with the United States. And doing it in unison with other nations that make up half of the global economy,” he continued.
The news comes as the U.S. and its European allies continue to hit Russia with numerous sanctions in an effort to pressure Putin to end the war in Ukraine.
The International Monetary Fund has predicted that Russia will plunge into a “deep recession” this year.
“Many issues divide us in Washington, but standing for democracy in Ukraine, pushing [punishing] Russia’s aggression should not be one of those issues,” Biden said.
The President added he would sign an executive order that would see the U.S. put a ban on exporting high-end goods from Russia, including watches, luxury vehicles, clothing, and jewelry. The White House estimated that the value of the luxury items covered by the ban is $550 million per year.
Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier Friday morning and reiterated his support for the country amid their fight with the Russian forces.
“I told him, as I have each and every time we’ve spoken, the United States stands with the people of Ukraine and their bravely — as they bravely fight to defend their country. And they are doing that,” the President said.
It remains unclear how the ban will affect Russia moving forward. The top U.S. import from Russia includes oil and gas products, which has already been banned.