U.S. trade chief seeks to mitigate impacts from Russia sanctions on U.S

3 mins read
U.S. Trade Representative Tai tours silicon wafer plant in Auburn

By Paul Lienert

BAY CITY, Mich. – Western sanctions and other actions to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine will impose costs on the United States and its allies, and policymakers needed to consider how to mitigate those impacts, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday.

Tai, asked about effects on U.S. automakers of revoking Russia’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations status — a move that would allow higher tariffs on imports from Russia — said that the action was aimed at imposing costs on Russia.

“Those consequences are intended to have a cost on Russia. But they also will require us to bear some costs,” Tai told reporters at an SK Siltron silicon wafer plant in Michigan.

“What we need to do — and this is really a key to policy making — 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.

She did not provide any specifics on whether certain metals imported from Russia, including palladium, rhodium and platinum used in vehicle exhaust catalytic converters and aluminum increasingly used in vehicle bodies, could be could be spared from higher tariffs.

She said that Russia’s actions had undermined a longstanding system of global economic integration, with consequences for the global 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.

The Biden administration and European Union have pledged to revoke Russia’s normal trade relations at the World Trade Organization, a move that for Washington requires approval by Congress. Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, told reporters on Wednesday that he hoped an authorizing bill could pass in the coming days.


Tai was in Michigan with South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo to mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) at a plant where the South Korean-owned SK Siltron was investing $300 million.

The biggest non-petroleum U.S. imports from Russia in 2020 were palladium, pig iron, rhodium, unwrought aluminum alloys, plywood and ammonium nitrate fertilizer, according to World Bank data.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert and David Lawder, writing by David Lawder; editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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