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Ukraine war: UK bans luxury goods exports to Russia and hikes import tariffs on products – including vodka

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The UK government has placed an export ban on luxury goods to Russia and hiked up import tariffs from the country on iconic products such as vodka.

British vehicles, high-end fashion and art are some of the luxury goods that will no longer be exported to Russia as the West continues to attempt to isolate the country after Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine nearly three weeks ago.

The new import duty hike will represent a 35 percentage point rise on current rates, which are different for each product, and will hit £900m worth of key products such as Russian vodka, metals, fertilisers and other commodities.

Follow live updates on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

All export finance support to Russia and Belarus is also being withdrawn, meaning the UK will no longer issue any new guarantees, loans, and insurance for exports to the countries.

In other developments:

Kyiv mayor Klitschko announces 35-hour curfew
Fears for ‘missing’ Russian journalist after on-air anti-war protest
Putin trying to justify invasion by holding ‘faux elections’, minister warns
Nearly 90,000 Britons sign up to house Ukrainian refugees
Johnson calls on Western nations to end ‘addiction’ to Russian oil and gas

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‘Boycott brands still in Russia’

‘Tariffs will further isolate Russian economy’

The export ban is part of coordinated action by the UK and its allies in the G7.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “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.”

Details of exactly which products are affected by the export ban will be set out soon, but the government said it would likely include high-end fashion, works of art and luxury vehicles.

The increased tariffs are part of the UK denying Russia access to the “Most Favoured Nation” tariff, a key principle of the World Trade Organisation which means members cannot discriminate between trading partners.

UK sanctions 386 Russian politicians who backed Putin’s invasion

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Goods hit by the increased tariff include: iron, steel, fertilisers, wood, tyres, railway containers, cement, copper, aluminium, silver, lead, iron ore, residue/food waste products, beverages, spirits and vinegar glass and glassware, cereals, oilseeds, paper and paperboard, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur skins and artificial fur, ships and white fish.

British exports and support

Britain exported £193m of goods to Russia in January alone and £3bn in 2021.

The UK’s export credit agency, UK export finance, has supported £189.9m of exports to Russia since the 2014 invasion of Crimea, mostly for oil and mining companies and for deals involving companies whose owners have now been sanctioned by either the US, EU, or UK.

The agency supported another £7.6m for exports to Belarus in the same period.

More oligarch sanctions to come

Several big Western brands have already pulled or suspended operations in Russia, including British carmakers Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin, and luxury fashion label Burberry.

Russian airlines and private planes are also banned from UK airspace.

Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich stands in a VIP lounge before a jet linked to him took off for Istanbul from Ben Gurion international airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel, March 14, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer
Image:
Oligarch Roman Abramovich was spotted in Israel on the way to Turkey after he was sanctioned by the UK

The UK has also sanctioned several oligarchs to penalise those closest to Mr Putin and passed the Economic Crime Bill on Monday, giving it the ability to now sanction many more.

It is expected to add hundreds more oligarchs to the sanctions list later on Tuesday to bring it in line with the EU’s list.

On Friday, the UK sanctioned 386 Russian politicians who supported Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Department for International Trade said any traders and businesses with questions about trading with Ukraine or Russia should call its helpline on 0300 303 8955 or visit its website.

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