Russian Parliament Prepares Law to Ban U.S. Imports, Services

The lower house of the Russian Parliament has drafted legislation in response to new U.S. sanctions, Vedomosti reported. The law proposes banning imports of a raft of U.S. goods and services to Russia and restricting economic ties.

Lawmakers will discuss the draft law next week. It proposes restricting imports of U.S.-made software and farm goods, U.S. medicines that can be sourced elsewhere, and tobacco and alcohol.

Members of Parliament also said they proposed a ban on cooperation with the United States on atomic power, rocket engines and aircraft making. The draft proposes barring U.S. firms from taking part in Russian privatization deals.

The draft law, according to a text seen by Reuters, is aimed at protecting Russia’s interests and security in the face of “unfriendly and unlawful acts by the United States of America and other foreign states.”

Russian currency and stock markets, preoccupied with the threat of U.S. military action in Syria and the fallout from Washington’s new sanctions, did not react to the draft legislation.

The proposed measures are in retaliation for the White House last week imposing the toughest set of sanctions on Russia since Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, in 2014, which dragged relations to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Back then, Moscow reacted with counter-sanctions banning a wide range of food imports from Western countries.

Russia imported $US12.5 billion worth of US products in 2017, according to official customs data. That included aircraft, machinery, pharmaceutical and chemical products.

Western companies, including Ford Motor Co, PepsiCo Inc and Coca-Cola’s bottler Coca-Cola HBC, have also invested billions of dollars since the fall of the Soviet Union to set up local production in Russia.