US HR passes bill freezing normal trade relations with Russia, Belarus
The House of Representatives voted in an overwhelming majority of 424-8 to pass the bill allowing Washington to raise tariffs above WTO limits and suspend normal trade with Moscow.
The US House of Representatives passed Thursday legislation that would suspend normal US trade relations with Russia and Belarus if it passes the Senate. The bill would also allow Washington to implement tariffs above the standard World Trade Organization rates.
The European Union had been seeking to remove Russia's most favored nation status at the World Trade Organization in a bid to add to the Western sanctions imposed on the country over its special military operation in Ukraine.
The House passed the Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act with a final vote of 424-8. The legislation will be on its way to the Senate for consideration.
The bill is among many that are working their way through Congress that serve Washington's goals of "imposing costs" on Russia and Belarus over Moscow's operation in Ukraine.
The measures include legislation pushed through the House Finance Committee earlier on Thursday to exclude Russia from various international organizations and expand sanctions enforcement to foreign subsidiaries of US companies.
Russia had launched its operation for several reasons, including NATO's eastward expansion, the Ukrainian shelling of Donbass, the killing of the people of the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic, and Moscow wanting to "denazify" and demilitarize Ukraine.
In response, the US and its allies have rolled out comprehensive sanctions, including restrictions on the Russian central bank, export control measures, SWIFT cutoff for select banks, and closure of airspace to all Russian flights. Many of their companies have suspended their Russian operations.