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UK and EU ban sales of luxury goods to Russia

·Business Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·4 min read
A Ferrari car is on sale at a dealership outside Moscow, Russia as the UK and EU ban luxury goods to the country.
A Ferrari car on sale at the showroom of a dealership at Barvikha luxury village shopping mall outside Moscow, Russia. The Uk and EU will ban the sale of luxury cars, boats and planes valued at more than €50,000, which would apply to models from manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and Ferrari. Photo: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

The UK has slapped fresh tariffs on some Russian imports as well as a ban on exports of some high-end luxury goods to Russia.

It comes as the European Union (EU) has also agreed to ban the sale of luxury consumer goods to the country that are worth more than €300 (£253, $330).

The moves form part of the latest wave of sanctions against Moscow as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the UK, a new 35% tariff will be imposed on £900m ($1.2bn) of Russian goods, including vodka, fur, fertilisers, tyres and cement, on top of existing tariffs.

Meanwhile restricted items from the EU will include perfumes, handbags, beer, champagne, caviar, suits, and cigars, among other consumer goods.

The purchase of some Russian steel and iron finished products will also be banned from the EU, as well as pearls, diamonds, gold and precious stones.

Britain is also denying Russia and Belarus access to Most Favoured Nation tariff for hundreds of their exports, which will remove key benefits of World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership.

Read more: Explainer: How economic sanctions work

"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," Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday.

"These tariffs build on the UK’s existing work to starve Russia’s access to international finance, sanction Putin’s cronies and exert maximum economic pressure on his regime."

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 World Trade Organisation is founded on respect for the rule of law, which Putin has shown he holds in contempt. By depriving his government of key benefits of WTO membership, we are denying him further resource for his invasion."

Watch: Chancellor Rishi Sunak says sanctions on Russia 'will already be making an impact on the Russian economy'

The EU will also ban the sale of luxury cars, boats and planes valued at more than €50,000, which would apply to models from manufacturers such as Audi, BMW (BMW.DE) and Ferrari (RACE).

Russia currently represents around 2% of global sales for Europe’s major luxury car brands.

Motorcycles worth more than €5,000 will also be banned as part of the fresh sanctions, alongside parts and accessories.

It comes as several European carmakers have already voluntarily suspended sales to Russia since the start of the conflict.

On Monday, EU diplomats weighed up the stricter measures, which also include a ban on new investments in Russian energy projects, after many days of heavy debate.

However, there are exemptions included. The new package does not target transactions needed for purchasing or transporting Russian fossil fuels nor are titanium, aluminium, copper, nickel, palladium and iron ore subject to the restrictions.

Read more: European markets fall as UK workers suffer biggest pay squeeze since 2014

The ban comes “as a direct blow to the Russian elite,” according to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.

In a recent statement she said: “Those who sustain Putin’s war machine should no longer be able to enjoy their lavish lifestyle while bombs fall on innocent people in Ukraine.”

Last week, president Joe Biden confirmed a complete US ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports in a speech at the White House.

"The American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin's leadership," he said. "Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people, and made it clear we will not be part of subsidising Putin’s war."

He highlighted that the ban on Russian oil imports had bipartisan support in Congress, as well as widespread support nationwide amid skyrocketing gas prices.

Watch: Why are gas prices rising?

“This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be further cost as well here in the United States,” he said.

The UK is also set to phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, following similar moves by the US.

The government said the transition period will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports, which make up 8% of UK demand.

Britain is less reliant on Russian fossil fuels than many European countries. Beyond Russia, the vast majority of UK imports come from partners such as the US, Netherlands and the Gulf.

The ban is not set to apply to Russian gas.

Watch: EU tightens sanctions, but won't ban Russian oil