US Trade Chief Seeks to Mitigate Impact of Russia Sanctions on US

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
March 17, 2022 Updated: March 17, 2022

Ambassador Katherine Tai, the current U.S. trade representative, said on March 16 that policymakers need to consider how to mitigate the impacts of Western sanctions imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.

Tai was in Michigan on March 16 with South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

She told reporters at an SK siltron silicon wafer plant that such sanctions could impose costs on the United States and its allies such as the European Union and the United Kingdom.

President Joe Biden announced on March 11 that he will sign bipartisan legislation that will revoke Russia’s permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status with the United States, effectively making it harder for Russia to do business with the West.

The legislation has yet to be approved by Congress, but if it is, it will allow the Biden administration to impose new tariffs and sanctions on Russia.

In turn, this could have a knock-on effect on businesses who source goods from Russia, and they will need to carefully analyze the duty implications and new tariffs.

When asked about the effect this would have on U.S. automakers, Tai said the move was aimed at imposing costs on Russia, but that the United States would also “bear some costs.”

“What we need to do—and this is really a key to policymaking—is to figure out how to take action that maximizes the consequences for Russia while we figure out how to mitigate the impacts on our economic interests,” Tai said.

Tai did not provide any further details as to whether certain metals imported from Russia and used in vehicle exhaust catalytic converters would be exempt from the higher tariffs.

The U.S. trade representative also said that the Moscow-led invasion of Ukraine had eroded global economic integration and would have ripple effects across the entire world economy.

“The president’s been very clear that first we have a responsibility to democracy and the rule of law in the world. We also have a responsibility to thinking through and doing the best that is strategically possible,” she said.

Biden said on March 11 that the move to end normal trade relations with Russia was done in coordination with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Western nations have imposed a string of sanctions on Russia in recent weeks which target the country’s finances and exports, and individuals with close ties to Putin.

The United States has also imposed a ban on Russian energy imports.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin must pay the price,” Biden said. “He cannot pursue a war that threatens the very foundations of international peace and stability, and then ask for financial help from the international community.”

Biden said the United States is banning a number of Russian goods from being imported into the country, including seafood, vodka, and diamonds.

Biden is also prohibiting the export of luxury goods into Russia and increasing the list of Russian nationals and their families who will be hit with sanctions, including billionaire businessman and financier Yury Kovalchuk, bank executives, and “Duma members who sponsored legislation to recognize the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic,'” the president said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.