Hundreds of various types of unsanctioned Russian goods worth billions of dollars continue to flow into US ports, Associated Press reported on Thursday.
The report highlighted that over 3,600 shipments of wood, metals, rubber and other goods have arrived at American ports from Russia since February. “That’s a significant drop from the same period in 2021, when about 6,000 shipments arrived, but it still adds up to more than $1 billion worth of commerce a month,” AP wrote, adding that cargoes arrive at US ports almost every day.
It also noted that “Banning imports of certain items would likely do more harm to those sectors in the US than in Russia.” Some US importers reportedly get alternative materials elsewhere, but many others do not have such choice.
The shipped items are “clearly legal and even encouraged by the Biden administration,” according to the report. However, in some cases, the origin of products shipped out of Russian ports can be difficult to discern. For example, US energy companies are continuing to import oil from Kazakhstan through Russian ports, even though that oil is sometimes mixed with the banned Russian fuel.
Russia is a key exporter of metals like aluminum, steel and titanium, Morgan Stanley economist Jacob Nell told AP, explaining that cutting off that trade could dramatically push up prices for Americans already grappling with inflation.
“The basic idea with sanctions is that you’re trying to act in a way that causes more pain to the other side and less pain to yourself,” he said.
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