USA wants G7 export ban against Russia


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Status: 05/15/2023 3:23 p.m

At their summit in Japan, the G7 heads of state plan to tighten sanctions against Russia. Among other things, it is about a far-reaching export ban, which the USA in particular is demanding. Sanctions against third countries are also being discussed.

The heads of state and government of the G7 countries want to tighten sanctions against Russia. New measures are to be discussed at the summit of the seven leading Western industrial nations, which will take place in Hiroshima, Japan, from May 19 to 21. The main concerns are energy and exports, which support Moscow’s war effort, officials with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters. One wants to avoid the circumvention of sanctions by third countries.

The US government is demanding a switch from a negative list for exports to Russia to a positive list. This would mean imposing an automatic export ban on all goods and then defining specific categories of goods that are exempt. This change could make it more difficult for Moscow to find loopholes in sanctions regulations, the Washington government argues.

The G7

The “Group of Seven” (G7) is an association of the seven most important industrial countries: Germany, Great Britain, USA, Canada, France, Japan and Italy. The EU Commission is present as an observer. The presidency rotates annually between the member states. The country holding the presidency sets the group’s priorities, hosts and organizes the summits. Last year Germany chaired the G7; the last meeting of the group was in June 2022 in Elmau, Bavaria.

11th EU sanctions package in progress

However, the Americans and Europeans in particular still do not agree on how the sanctions should be tightened. The US approach has met with criticism in Berlin, for example, but also in other G7 capitals. “In our view, the sometimes-discussed approach of ‘we will ban everything and allow exceptions’ will not work,” says German government circles: “We want to avoid unintended side effects.”

The background may also be that significantly more goods in non-sanctioned sectors – from medicines to food – are exported to Russia from Europe than from the USA. In order to be able to take even better action here, the EU is currently working on an 11th package of sanctions against Russia.

Beijing must end its aggressive drive for power, the G7 states demand in their final declaration.

disagreement in the EU

However, the Europeans are also puzzling as to how best to prevent sanctions being circumvented. For example, the EU wants to work actively with countries in which companies are located that import goods on EU sanctions lists in order to then sell them on to Russia. These include Turkey, Kazakhstan and Armenia. The EU Commission is also proposing to list Chinese companies in the sanctions that supply so-called dual-use goods to Russia, which can also be used militarily there. But within the EU it is controversial whether Chinese companies should be listed in a new sanctions package.

The federal government has always rejected such sanctions against third countries or their companies and now emphasizes that the US practice of so-called extraterritorial sanctions is viewed “very, very critically”. Germany will represent this basic position both in the EU and the G7. “But we also find a lot of approval there,” said a government representative.

What have the G7 countries achieved under the German presidency?

Areas of the export ban are discussed

The US at least wants to push through a slimmed-down approach at the G7, which then refers to the areas most sensitive to the Russian military. The exact areas to which these new rules should apply are still being discussed, it said in Washington. “You should expect that there will be policy changes in a few areas, notably in relation to Russia’s defense industry,” a US official, who asked not to be named, said of a possible export ban.

Meanwhile, one of the world’s largest machine tool builders, the German-Japanese company DMG Mori, has begun monitoring the later use of its products to ensure they are not used for military purposes, according to a report in the Financial Times (“FT”) . According to “FT”, DMG MORI has asked its customers worldwide to install a system that can remotely switch off devices when they are removed or dismantled.

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