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European Union to impose embargo on imports of Russian wood, chemicals and coal

The European Commission will propose to EU members on Tuesday sweeping new sanctions against Russia, including a ban on imports of coal, timber, chemicals, and other products worth almost 9 billion euros ($9.86 billion) each year.

According to the source, the European Union will also propose a restriction on shipments to Russia worth another 10 billion euros per year, including semiconductors, computers, LNG gas technology, and other electrical and transportation equipment.

According to the source, Russian vessels and trucks would be barred from entering the EU, further stifling trade, with exceptions granted for energy, food, and medicines.

According to the source, the EU would also prohibit all transactions with VTB (VTBR.MM) and three other Russian banks that have already been barred from using the SWIFT messaging system, while dozens more persons, including oligarchs and politicians, would be added to the EU’s sanctions list.

If accepted by EU member states, the coal ban would be the first on any energy import from Russia imposed by the group since Moscow launched what it terms a ‘special operation’ in Ukraine on February 24.

The Commission recommended such a restriction in January in the event that Russia invaded its neighbour, but it was vetoed by Germany, the EU country most reliant on Russian coal, according to EU sources.

According to a German government source, Germany would accept a gradual EU embargo on Russian coal imports.

According to the EU source, a coal ban would cost roughly 4 billion euros each year.

In comparison, the EU imported almost 100 billion euros in oil and gas from Russia last year. According to sources, the EU is working on oil and gas policies but has not made any decisions yet.

Import prohibitions would take effect as soon as sanctions were published in the EU’s official journal, with winding-down periods of unknown length, according to the source.

The EU has already adopted four rounds of sanctions, including the freeze of Russian central bank assets, and the additional restrictions are meant to further stymie trade with Russia.

They would halt road and marine transit of products, with the exception of crucial imports such as gas and oil. The EU has already prohibited air flights between the EU and Russia.

Officials have often stated that applying such sanctions may be difficult since it is not always possible to determine the provenance of a cargo ship.

According to the source, bans on importing wood, cement, rubber, and chemicals from Russia, as well as high-end goods like as caviar and alcohol such as vodka, would be recommended, totaling around 5 billion euros per year.

The new limitations, which include a planned ban on technology exports to Russia, would cut the value of trade between the EU and Russia by at least 20 billion euros per year, according to the source.


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