The Canadian government is removing Russia’s and Belarus’ status of “most favoured nation” in trading, in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that the federal government is imposing a 35% tariff on all imports from Russia and Belarus, effectively stripping the two countries of the “most favoured nation” status— a World Trade Organization classification that up until now applied to all countries except North Korea.
“We are working closely with our partners and allies to encourage them to take the same step,” Freeland said, warning that “the economic costs of the Kremlin’s barbaric war are already high and they will continue to rise.” According to data from Statistics Canada, Russian imports amounted to $1.2 billion in 2020, while imports from Belarus— one of Russia’s closest allies in the region— totalled $23 million.
The Liberal government also announced sanctions targeting the Russian central bank, as well 10 Russian nationals from Gazprom and Rosneft. In addition, Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand on Thursday announced that the Canadian Armed Forces are boosting lethal aid supplies to Ukraine, including 7,500 hand grenades and 4,500 rocket launchers.
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