UK Sanctions on Russia

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 21st April 2022.

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Photo of Tom Randall Tom Randall Conservative, Gedling

What assessment she had made with Cabinet colleagues of the effectiveness of UK sanctions on Russia in reducing international trade with that country.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

What assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of UK sanctions on Russia in reducing international trade with that country.

Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade

I am very busy today, Mr Speaker. In co-ordination with our allies, we are introducing the largest and most severe economic sanctions that Russia has ever faced, to help cripple Putin’s war machine. We are denying Russia most-favoured-nation treatment relating to hundreds of key products, ramping up the pressure on Russia’s economy by making it more difficult for it to trade by imposing punitive tariffs of 35%. We are prohibiting the export of certain goods, including critical technologies and luxury goods, and finally we are also phasing out the import of Russian oil and coal to deny it access to lucrative energy revenues. Details can be found in the impact assessment on gov.uk.

Photo of Tom Randall Tom Randall Conservative, Gedling

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. Last week I visited Poland with Conservative colleagues as part of Project Maja, the Conservative social action project. It included a visit to the Russian border, and what is usually a very busy border crossing with lots of commerce on both sides was, obviously, eerily quiet. The economic impact of this war is going to be long lasting for the neighbours in that region for some time, so does my right hon. Friend agree that it is important that we do all we can to boost trade with them?

Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade

I thank my hon. Friend for his commitment to our eastern European neighbours and allies. This is an incredibly difficult time for all of them, not only in security terms but in terms of economics and trade as well. I will meet the Ukrainian ambassador this afternoon to discuss further ways in which we can support them and help Ukrainian businesses to continue to trade as easily as possible, and we are working very closely with CBIs in the region to help them find solutions. This is a very difficult situation, and the UK, working in concert with the US and the EU, will do all we can both to stop the trade and opportunities for Putin to raise cash to fund his war machine, and to ensure that those countries that are standing by Ukraine, providing it with defensive support and incredible humanitarian support to keep its citizens safe, will be able to trade as easily as possible through this difficult crisis.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

You almost caught me out there, Mr Speaker. May I, on behalf of the Democratic Unionist party, wish Her Majesty the Queen a very happy birthday on this special day?

I thank the Secretary of State very much for her response to the question. This United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is united in its campaign to put sanctions on Russia. The effects include some companies across the United Kingdom, but companies in Northern Ireland in particular are having to find alternative places to sell their products and alternative sources to purchase products that they usually buy from Russia. What has been done to help those UK companies, including those in Northern Ireland?

Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade

Indeed, as I mentioned earlier, this is difficult for some businesses. Our export support service has been focused on supporting those businesses with difficulties created by their Russian or Belarusian supply chains. It is a pleasure to be able to say that it has been extraordinary to witness so many businesses taking such decisions, even though it is economically difficult for them, because it is the right thing to do morally to step away from anything to do with Russia. Huge credit and thanks to all the businesses taking those very difficult economic decisions.

Looking at Northern Ireland, while some businesses are suffering, businesses such as Thales in Northern Ireland have been extraordinary in helping to provide support by providing the NLAWs—next-generation light anti-tank weapons—and defensive equipment that can help the Ukrainians fight the Putin war machine. Enormous thanks to all those businesses that are helping to support us and are working with the Ministry of Defence in particular to make sure that we can support the Ukrainians with the defensive equipment they need.