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The United States Congress voted to ban the import of Russian crude oil, and to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, as the United States moves to increase its pressure on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
The bill to ban imports of Russian oil passed 100-0 in the Senate and 413-9 in the House, and will now head to the President for signing.
The bill prohibits U.S. imports of crude, gas, coal, crude products, or any other energy products from Russia.
President Joe Biden already banned imports of Russian crude oil into the United States on March 8 via executive order. But there was a strong push to put it into law. Since that time, however, the Senate has haggled on the details of the bill.
A separate bill to suspend normal trade relations—also known as “favored nation status“—with Russia also passed in the Senate with a 100-0 vote, which will allow the President to assign higher tariffs on imports in an effort to weaken the Russian economy even more.
The ban includes not only Russian oil, but also coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The United States imports around 500,000 bpd of Russian crude and products. The ban could likely result in more self-sanctioning from others.
The actions from both the House and the Senate on Thursday represent the first time since the invasion that sanctions measures have been sent to Biden’s desk for approval. Up until today, the White House has relied on Presidential actions to punish Russia for its aggression toward Ukraine.
Also today, the UN voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.
In afternoon trade, crude oil prices were trading relatively flat on the day.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.