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Luxury exports to Russia banned as tariffs hiked on imports including vodka

British cars, high-end fashion and works of art are expected to be some of the goods that will no longer be exported to Russia.

15 March 2022

High-end luxury goods exports to Russia have been banned and import tariffs have been hiked on hundreds of goods, including vodka, under a raft of new UK economic sanctions on the country.

The Government said Russian vodka will be among goods worth about £900 million to be hit with an extra 35% tariff as it continues to inflict punitive measures in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

And the export ban is set to impact Russia’s access to luxury British vehicles, high-end fashion and works of art as part of co-ordinated action by the UK and its allies in the G7 group of countries.

The Department for International Trade said the export ban will “make sure oligarchs and other members of the elite, who have grown rich under President Putin’s reign and support his illegal invasion, are deprived of access to luxury goods”.

The latest sanctions also include a move to deny Russia and Belarus access to the so-called Most Favoured Nation tariff for hundreds of their exports, depriving both nations key benefits of World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership.

Britain further announced it would cut off all Government-backed export finance to Russia and Belarus, meaning it will no longer issue any new guarantees, loans and insurance for exports to the countries.

International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with our international partners in our determination to punish Putin for his barbaric actions in Ukraine, and we will continue our work to starve his regime of the funds that enable him to carry them out.”

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, added: “Our new tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from global trade, ensuring it does not benefit from the rules-based international system it does not respect.”

It comes after the Government, last week, froze assets and imposed travel bans on seven Russian oligarchs, including Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich.

The imported Russian goods facing the extra tariff charges span a slew of sectors and include goods such as spirits and vinegar, iron, steel, fertilisers, wood, tyres, railway containers, cement, copper, aluminium, silver, lead, beverages, glass and glassware, cereals, oil seeds, paper, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur skins and artificial fur, ships and white fish.

The Government said further details on the luxury goods that will come under the scope of the export ban will follow “in due course”.

Britain exported £193 million of goods to Russia in January alone and £3 billion in 2021.

UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, has also supported £189.9 million of exports to Russia since the 2014 invasion of Crimea, mostly for oil and mining companies and for deals involving companies whose owners have now been sanctioned by either the US, EU or UK.

Another £7.6 million was supported for exports to Belarus in the same period.

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