MOSCOW, June 2. /TASS/. Russia should respond harshly to the United States’ tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, following the lead of the European Union, Mexico and Canada, a senior Russian lawmaker, Vladimir Gutenev, said on Saturday.
"I believe time is ripe for Russia to be tough on this issue. The tariffs on steel and aluminium for us, along with China, Japan and some other countries, were imposed earlier. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Russian economy’s damages from the US tariffs will amount to nearly $3bln - at least $2bln for steel and $1bln for aluminium," said Gutenev, who is First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s (lower house of Russian parliament) Committee on Economic Policy, Industry, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship.
Russia, like other affected countries, should swiftly hit back with proportional tit-for-tat measures against the steps of its overseas partners, which run counter to the rules of the World Trade Organization, Gutenev noted. The Russian lawmaker warned any delay in Moscow’s response would "spark further aggressive steps against it."
On June 1, the US imposed tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico. Europe is threatening to challenge this measure in the WTO and support European manufacturers by introducing tariffs on a range of US goods.
Mexico’s Ministry of Economy announced plans to retaliate against Washington’s decision with tariffs on some imported US goods. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the release of two lists of US products to be targeted by 25% and 10% tariffs from July 1. The tariffs will remain in force until the US lifts its own measures.
Trade between Russia and the United States significantly rose last year and US exports of goods to Russia reached $7bln, while Russia’s imports in the US were worth $17bln, according to the lawmaker. "Despite the surplus in trade, we may abandon some US items such as cleaning agents, foodstuffs, alcoholic beverages and etc." he said.