US House backs removal of 'most-favored' trade status for Russia, Belarus
The US House of Representatives has backed legislation to remove "most favored nation" trade status for Russia and Belarus over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 424-8 in favor of removing Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status, the latest effort in Congress to put economic pressure on the two countries.
According to Press TV, the move will allow the administration of President Joe Biden to impose higher tariffs on Russian and Belarusian imports than the current levels that the US has promised to all World Trade Organization member countries.
The bill also sets up strict guidelines for when the president can restore normal trade ties with Russia and Belarus based on the state of the Ukraine conflict.
To become law, the measure must also pass the Senate.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it would move through the Senate quickly, after approval by the House.
“The Congress today will take another step in lockstep with many of our allies, as is the Biden administration, to tighten our stranglehold on the Russian economy,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a speech on the House floor Thursday. She called the legislation “an intense action to further isolate Russia and decimate its economy.”
The House vote took place a day after Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy gave a virtual address to Congress, appealing for more support.