UK Politics

Medvedev orders to prepare anti-US sanctions similar to Europe and Chinas


PM Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the Russian Economy Ministry to prepare an answer to “openly discriminative” steel and aluminum duties introduced by the United States, noting that Europe and China had already made their moves.

Speaking at the Wednesday government session dedicated to international trade issues, Medvedev stated that the restrictions introduced by Washington “cannot be left unanswered.” “The European Union and the Peoples Republic of China have already taken reciprocal steps. We should start thinking about our reciprocal measures, I am asking the Economy Ministry to prepare the necessary proposals,” he said.

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Medvedev also told Russian ministers that as western nations maintained their anti-Russian sanctions, Moscow would consider the extension of its reciprocal measures into 2019. At the same time he added that Russia was not questioning its membership in the World Trade Organization and told the officials to make the most of the WTO legal tools to tackle with the sanctions problem.

Earlier this month Russian Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin told reporters that Moscow would seek to retaliate against Washingtons unilaterally imposed steel and aluminum tariffs against Russia and other producers. “The US continues to apply protective measures by imposing additional import duties on steel and aluminum, and refuses to provide compensation for Russia's losses. That is why Russia is using its WTO rights and introducing balancing measures with respect to imports from the United States,” he said. However, the minister emphasized that the Russian embargo would not apply to the goods that have no analogues produced inside the country.

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A view from the Hotel Moskva on the Kremlin. © Alexander Vilf

In May, Russia informed the WTO about possible retaliatory measures in the amount of $538 million – exactly the same sum it stands to lose from Americas restrictions.

Also in May, Russian parliament passed a framework law that allows the government to apply various restrictive measures on nations that use economic sanctions against Russia or make other attempts to impede its development. This was the reply to the latest round of sanctions introduced by the US and its allies.

The start of the standoff dates back to 2014 when Western nations slapped Russia with economic sanctions to punish it for its alleged role in the conflict in southeast Ukraine and Crimeas reunification with Russia. In the same year, Russia responded with a broad embargo on food imports from all countries participating in the original sanctions plan. Since then, the sanctions have been repeatedly extended and sometimes expanded by both sides.

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