The EU has prepared sanctions against Russian steel

The EU has prepared sanctions against Russian steel

The European Union will propose a new ban on the purchase of products from Russia, which will deprive it of 7 billion euros of income, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and will also introduce new restrictions on the supply of technology.

The eighth package of sanctions will include a ban on sea transportation by European companies of Russian oil, if it is sold above the agreed price (ceiling), to any country. In June, the EU banned the provision of financial and insurance services for maritime supplies, but not for transport (Greece, Cyprus and Malta opposed, with which it has now been possible to agree). Now, all services related to such supplies are supposed to be allowed only when Russian oil is sold at a price that will not exceed the established ceiling.

These requirements must be agreed before December 5, when the EU embargo will come into force, but the G7 countries that initiated its introduction have not yet named the specific value of the ceiling.

In addition, citizens of EU countries will not be allowed to hold positions in the governing bodies of Russian state-owned companies, von der Leyen said. Although the ban does not include specific names, the most notorious European who continues to work with Russian structures, remains former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Although he resigned as chairman of the board of directors of Rosneft in May, explaining this as a possible threat due to the “sanctions zeal” of the Europeans, Schroeder continues to chair the committee of shareholders of Nord Stream, the operator of Nord Stream.

According to the explanatory note, which got acquainted The Wall Street Journal, the new package will also include a complete ban on the import of steel and steel products, as well as paper, chemicals, plastic products, cigarettes, hardware and household appliances.

The export ban will include products for the aviation industry, including tires and brakes, lignite used in the processing industry, and electronic components.

The purchase of some types of steel products from Russia was limited by sanctions already in March (they came into full force in June). But deliveries partially continued, including due to the legal circumvention of sanctions, wrote in early September, the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche. For example, semi-finished products were not subject to restrictions and, in particular, NLMK supplied them to its plant in Belgium, which was already selling finished products to European customers. The operations passed all the necessary checks, the magazine indicated.

According to customs data, until June 2022, 40% of all registered steel exports from Russia were to the EU countries (for the same period in 2021 – 37%).

The ban will be extended to steel products, as well as jewelry and precious stones, confirmed Bloomberg source familiar with the sanctions discussion.

The new sanctions will also limit the transfer of funds by Russians through crypto assets, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg. European firms will be prohibited from opening crypto wallets to Russian citizens and organizations registered in Russia, providing services for maintaining accounts and storing cryptocurrencies.

But there is no embargo on diamonds in the plan, writes the WSJ: according to diplomats, this measure was excluded at the last minute. So far, it has been successfully lobbied against by Belgium, which bought $1.8 billion worth of Russian diamonds in 2021 out of a total export of $4 billion, according to Transparency International. A senior EU official told the newspaper that the EC decided that such a measure would hit the Belgian economy too hard.

More than 30 people from among the high-ranking Russian military and those who participated in the organization of fictitious referendums in the occupied Ukrainian territories will fall under personal sanctions. In addition, von der Leyen promised to prosecute those who circumvent the bans. This can hit the organizers of parallel imports. The President of the EC gave the following example:

If they buy goods in the European Union, transport them to third countries, and then to Russia, this will be considered a circumvention of our sanctions, and such people will be included in [санкционный] list. I think it will have a powerful deterrent effect.

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