China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-30 07:54
The United States has imposed the "toughest" sanctions against Russia since the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, but more than 3,600 shipments of timber, metal, rubber and other Russian goods, worth more than $1 billion a month, still reached the US in the past few months, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
So, the US claims sanctions should be used to inflict a "devastating blow" on Russia's economy, while itself importing a range of products from Russia. This is because Washington is well aware that if it stops importing certain products from Russia, some industries in the US would be hurt more than Russia.
Russia is a major exporter of aluminum, steel, titanium and other metals, and as inflation runs high in the US, halting import of Russian metals would significantly push up prices in the US. That explains why, since February, the US has received more than 900 shipments of metal products, totaling more than 264 million metric tons, from Russia.
The US government announced a comprehensive ban on import of Russian oil, gas and coal in March, but at the same time it imposed a "buffer period" to allow US companies to fulfill existing orders. In the week that US President Joe Biden announced the oil embargo, about 1 million barrels of Russian crude arrived in Philadelphia, and a tanker carrying 75,000 barrels of Russian tar entered the port of Texas bound for refineries in the US. These tankers have not stopped oil shipments to US refineries, with oil traders arguing that the imported oil was not produced in Russia and not covered by US sanctions.
In late July, the US government raised tariffs on 570 Russian products, including ores, timber, metals and machinery, to 35 percent, but the list excludes palladium, titanium, platinum, nickel and pig iron. A close analysis of the list of US imports from Russia shows that there are some areas where the US still encourages imports from Russia. For example, more than 100 shipments of Russian fertilizer have arrived in the US since Russia launched its "special military operation" against Ukraine.
As the sole superpower, the US has the ability to impose sanctions on any country it dislikes, but its huge imports of Russian products show that it only wants to restrain other countries while itself importing whatever it needs.