President Joe Biden speaks at the White House.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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Biden to revoke Russia’s trade status, ratcheting up economic pain for Putin

President Joe Biden is expected to announce Friday that the U.S. will suspend normal trade relations with Russia for its unprovoked war in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden will suspend normal trade relations with Russia on Friday as part of the ongoing effort to punish President Vladimir Putin for his unprovoked war in Ukraine, a person familiar with the announcement said.

The move, which will come in concert with the Group of 7 and European Union, paves the way for the administration to increase tariffs on Russian imports above the levels pledged to all World Trade Organization members.

Biden, the person familiar with the announcement said, will throw his support behind a bipartisan proposal that has gained steam in Congress in recent days that would revoke Russia’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status and direct the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to seek Russia’s ouster from the WTO.

The top Democrats and Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee first proposed the move in a letter Monday.

When the war began more than two weeks ago, the administration focused its initial response by leveling sanctions against Russian oligarchs and the country’s banks. As support has deepened for Ukraine across the West, the U.S. and Europe have taken additional steps, expanding sanctions to Putin himself and members of his inner circle and, earlier this week, took action to reduce their dependence on Russian energy.

On Tuesday, Biden announced the U.S. would ban imports of Russian oil, gas and coal. Europe, which is far more reliant on Russian energy, has also proposed a plan to cut its use of oil and gas from Russia by two-thirds this year.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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