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White House reckoning with US businesses’ interests as it mulls sanctions against Russia

June 25, 2014, 23:24 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
Two largest associations of businessmen, the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association, had spoken out against a further harshening of sanctions against Russia
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© EPA/JUSTIN LANE

WASHINGTON, June 25, /ITAR-TASS/. Washington will be ready to introduce new sanctions against Russia in collaboration with its allies, the EU in the first place, if the situation in and around Ukraine necessitates them but the Obama Administration will take account of the interests of American businesses maintaining trade relations with Russia along with it, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a news briefing Wednesday.

Reporters asked him to comment on the reports that the country’s two largest associations of businessmen, the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association, had spoken out against a further harshening of sanctions against Russia. The two groups even drafted a newspaper ad in the form of an open statement that will be published on the terms of a commercial promo.

Thomas Donohue, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President says in the promo that "history shows that unilateral sanctions don't work. […] The only effect of such sanctions is to bar U.S. companies from foreign markets and cede business opportunities to firms from other countries."

"We are concerned about actions that would harm American manufacturers and cost American jobs," says Jay Timmons, the CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.

"The most effective long-term solution to increase America's global influence is to strengthen our ability to provide goods and services to the world through pro-trade policies and multilateral diplomacy," he says.

Press Secretary Earnest said to this that President Obama was weighing out the impact the new sanctions might have on the U.S. companies, adding that for his very reason the U.S. Administration was working with its allies on a package of international punitive measures it would try to subject Russia to if it deemed them necessary.

"We're balancing a lot of different equities as we approach this," Earnest said.

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