Biden Signs Legislation Banning U.S. Importation of Russian Energy Products

President Joe Biden has signed legislation ending normal trade relations with Russia. This is the latest step the U.S. has taken to punish Moscow for its military invasion of Ukraine.
The Senate passed the legislation in a 100-0 vote. The House then approved it in a 413-9 vote and sent it to President Joe Biden’s desk to sign into law. The bill prohibits the importation of oil, gas, coal and other energy products from Russia. It comes nearly a month after Biden signed an executive order that mandated essentially the same steps.
Despite strong bipartisan support, it took several weeks for negotiators to reach an agreement on the legislation. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had objections to language reauthorizing the Magnitsky Act, a human rights sanctions bill.

The legislation codifies Biden’s recent Executive Order banning Russian oil, gas and coal into law making it far more difficult for a future president to reverse it. The legislation passed after having been bogged down in the Senate for weeks. The energy import ban passed immediately after the overwhelming approval of a bill to revoke Russia’s permanent normal trade relations with the United States, often referred to as “most favored nation” status.

The legislation would also sever the normal trade relationship with Belarus, a key Russian ally.
The move came after the United States, Japan and “Group of Seven” industrialized nations agreed last month to take steps to strip Russia of its “most favored nation” status under which Russia enjoyed low tariffs and other benefits as a member of the World Trade Organization. According to the Federal Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Russia was the United States 26th largest trading partner with $28 billion in two-way trade in 2019.

“This package is about bringing every tool of economic pressure to bear on Vladimir Putin and his oligarch cronies,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in a statement on the measures. “Putin’s Russia does not deserve to be a part of the economic order that has existed since the end of World War II,” he said.

National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Rich Nolan issued this statement following an announcement from the White House banning imports of Russian oil, natural gas and coal to the United States.
“Our hearts are with the Ukrainian people, and we fully support this important step to deprive Russia of the economic resources used to wage war. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a wakeup call about the need to reprioritize fuel security and diversity, and focus on the materials required for manufacturing and infrastructure around the world.

As the nation with the world’s largest coal reserves, the U.S. can – and should – play a critical role in helping meet Europe’s energy and steelmaking needs in the months and years ahead. Private industry and policymakers should work hand-in-hand to ramp up domestic production and tackle supply chain barriers that stand in the way, including challenges with our nation’s railways and ports.

As this moment reinforces, we must stop underinvesting in and targeting the fuels that remain the foundation of the global energy system, and prioritize affordable, reliable and secure energy. That begins with greater production and use of the resources we have here at home produced under the world’s highest labor and environmental standards. The U.S. mining community stands ready to partner with our allies and the administration to provide support in this extraordinary time.”

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