The trade continues to closely watch the movement of legislation through the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, which would remove Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status for both Russia and Belarus. The legislation seeks to end normal trade relations with both nations and would result in the application of “column 2” rates of duty. The rulings may allow the president to “tweak” duty rates on specific tariff numbers and reinstate MFN status (upon notification of Congress) without additional legislation.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued several updated General Licenses regarding trade with Russia.
General License 17A extends the deadline for the import of seafood purchased prior to March 11, 2022. The previous deadline for import has been extended from March 24, 2022, to June 23, 2022. To qualify, the importer must provide CBP with proof that a contract or agreement existed prior to March 11, 2022. These documents should be provided to CBP before the merchandise is unloaded from the importing conveyance. No changes have been made to the prohibitions on the import of non-industrial diamonds and alcoholic beverages of Russian origin.
The OFAC has also published General License 6A, which updates the authorization of the exportation or re-exportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components for medical devices, and software updates for medical devices to, from, or transiting the Russian Federation. Also included are items for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 (including research or clinical studies relating to COVID-19); or ongoing clinical trials and other medical research that was in effect prior to March 24, 2022.
It is also noted that General License 25 has been published authorizing journalistic activities in the Crimea region of Ukraine, the Donetsk Republic (DNR), or Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). This includes authorization of EAR99 materials necessary for the performance of those journalistic activities.
The Biden Administration continues to focus on specific Russian individuals and entities, placing sanctions on over 400 particular parties. The White House has issued a fact sheet with details regarding the actions taken to date.