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US President Biden signs new bills barring energy imports and revoking Russian trade status

9 April 2022

President Biden signed two new bills into law on April 8th, 2022, banning importation of RF energy products and suspending routine trade relations with the RF and Belarus.

In 2012, congress granted the RF with a “most favored nation” (MFN) status, among other things, since Russia would otherwise be banned from receiving a permanent and unconditional “normal trade relations” (NTR) status under Title IV of the 1974 “Trade Act”. The NTR status was crucial as without it, US tariffs on RF imports would generally increase.

The new “Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act” (H.R. 7108), passed on April 8th, 2022, withdraws the NTR status from Belarus and Russia, re-enforces non-MFN tariffs on their goods (till January 2024) and permits President Biden to further expand tariffs on products from these countries. The new law also re-enforces the “Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act”, authorizing the imposition of sanctions on individuals liable for corruption and human rights abuses. The full text of the new H.R. 7108 Act can be found here.

The new “Ending Importation of Russian Oil Act” (H.R. 6968) passed too on April 8th, 2022, bans all importation of Russian energy products and oil into the US, requiring this be done in a method consistent with E.O. 14066, which banned all importation of RF coal, liquified natural gas and oil, on March 8th, 2022. The law allows the US President, under certain circumstances, to terminate the import ban and allows congress to overturn the President’s termination by enacting a disapproval resolution (could be vetoed). More information on these two new pieces of legislation adopted on April 8th, 2022, can be found here.