Updated Mar 11, 2022 - World

U.S. moves to end normal trade relations with Russia

President Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Friday.

President Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Friday. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. is moving to revoke Russia's "most favored nation" trade status in what President Biden called Friday "another crushing blow" against the country over its invasion of Ukraine.

Driving the news: "We're going to continue to stand together with our allies in Europe and send an unmistakable message. We'll defend every single inch of NATO territory with the full might of a united and galvanized NATO," Biden said.

  • Biden said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had agreed to wait to move forward on revoking normal trade relations with Russia until he "could line up all of our key allies," adding that "unity among our allies is critically important."
  • Pelosi said Friday that the House next week will "take up legislation to formalize this revocation, and it is our hope that it will receive a strong, bipartisan vote," according to a statement.
  • The U.S. is set to lift the status in coordination with the European Union and the Group of Seven countries, meaning those nations can raise tariffs on Russian imports to further inflict economic damage in retaliation for the invasion.

What he's saying: Biden also said Friday that the U.S. is taking steps to ban imports of Russian vodka, seafood and diamonds.

  • "Putin is the aggressor and Putin must pay the price," he said, warning that "Russia will pay a severe price if it uses chemical weapons."
  • "I will welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms if they need access," Biden also said.

The big picture: Congress must pass legislation to remove Russia's permanent normal trade relations with the U.S., though lawmakers in the House and Senate have signaled they are ready to act, according to Reuters.

  • The status removal comes on top of a U.S. ban on Russian oil, natural gas and coal imports, technology exports to the country, and sanctions on several Russian banks, oligarchs and businesses.
  • EU and NATO countries have also raised similar sanctions against Russia.
  • Congress is pursuing additional legislation that would in part direct the U.S. trade representative to "use the voice and influence" of the U.S. to push for Russia to be suspended from the World Trade Organization.

What's happening: Russia's economy is already suffering from the economic sanctions, with the International Monetary Fund predicting that it will fall into a "deep recession" this year.

Go deeper: Global banks reveal billions in potential Russia-linked losses

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