Congress has passed legislation that would strip Russia and Belarus of their normal trade relations status with the US. The World Trade Organization, WTO, lifted the two countries’ most-favored-nation status in advance of this legislation. Now, President Biden’s certain signature will put these countries in the same category as North Korea and Cuba, allowing for the imposition of significant tariff increases on products from Russia and Belarus.
The legislation cleared both houses of Congress with wide bipartisan support, 100 to 0 in the Senate and 420 to 3 in the House. This action taken against Russia is in response to their invasion of Ukraine, while Belarus hosted some of the invading Russian troops. A number of Russian products such as oil, gas, vodka, and seafood had already been banned by executive order last month. The Senate already passed their own bill, barring imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal, which is expected to move swiftly through the House.
Possible tariff increases could be levied on some steel and plywood, products which already have seen hefty price increases for the US consumer. Joining the US in lifting Russia’s most-favored-nation-status are about a quarter of all WTO members, including all of the EU member nations: Canada, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Industry and Security, BIS, added another 120 entities in Russia and Belarus requiring licenses for exports, re-exports, or transfers of items subject to Export Administration Regulations, EAR. BIS will review license applications for exports to these entities under a policy of denial; you can visit their website here. No license exceptions will be available to these entities for items covered by the EAR. The Federal Register publication of this expansion can be viewed here.
Sam McClure, LCB
Director of Compliance & Customs Services
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Meet one of CVI’s Customs Brokerage & Compliance experts, Sam McClure:
Sam serves as Director, Compliance and Customs Services for CVI. He serves as CVI’s corporate compliance officer and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our Customs related services, including growth.
Sam started his career in 1977 with Waters Shipping Company in Charlotte, NC. He began as a document runner, soon becoming a leader in operations and customer service for the branch. Sam, along with Linda Masten, founded Central Carolina Shipping Inc. in 1983 as an independent Customs Brokerage firm where he served as Vice President for 26 years. Sam and Linda grew Central Carolina into a successful and highly respected member of the Carolinas trade community. When Charlotte opened their local chapter of the IFFCBA Sam was part of the organizing group and he headed the Customs committee for several years. Sam obtained his Customs Brokers License in 1984 and remained with Central Carolina until the company was acquired by CVI in 2009.
At CVI, Sam has held several positions in both the operations and sales departments. As an expert in U.S. Customs regulations, Sam is often called upon on to provide guidance to importers on Customs compliance issues. He makes regular presentations on matters related to importation and broader regulatory compliance.
– Sam McClure, LCB, Director of Compliance & Customs Services, CVI
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