The ongoing conflict between Moscow and Washington, D.C. over tariffs on aluminium and steel is not likely to come to a friendly conclusion by year’s end. Such was the message expressed yesterday by a representative of the Russian government.
In comments to Russian news agency TASS, Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin that litigation over the tariffs continues.
“We are continuing our litigation, the procedures are not quick. It’s clear that most likely the US will oppose the decisions. This issue generally bumps into the WTO’s reforms and settling the issue with an appeal authority. This dispute is unlikely to be ironed out by December.”
Last year saw Russia’s aluminium sector take a one-two blow to the body from the Trump Administration, starting with the country’s inclusion in blanket aluminium and steel tariffs after an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 found that imports of both metals undermined the national security of the United States.
Though a handful of nations were initially given temporary relief and others won a permanent reprieve from the tariffs, sources say Russia was never seriously considered for any carve-out from tariffs. In response, Moscow became one of several countries to register an official complaint against the move at the WTO, where the process to adjudicate that complaint continues.
The other shoe dropped in April with strict and severe sanctions leveled upon aluminium behemoth U.C. Rusal by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Alleging the company’s founder Oleg Deripaska maintains a tight relationship with the Kremlin, OFAC said the firm was involved in “nefarious activities” against governments around the world, including unduly influencing the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Rusal suffered through sanctions until January after the firm gave Deripaska a reduced role in the company’s ownership and operation.