Britain announced today that it would raise import tariffs on hundreds of Russian goods, including luxury items such as vodka, fur coats, antiques and works of art.
The British government said Russian goods worth around £900 million will be hit with an additional 35 percent tariff, under a series of new British economic sanctions against Moscow.
And it means UK consumers and businesses can now import similar products from other countries to avoid their overnight costs increasing.
For example, they can now start importing more vodka from major exporters like Sweden, France and Poland – while those who want to bring in furs, which are on the list of products, can look to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Russian artworks are also on the government’s list, which means the UK may be looking more closely at other major exporters of art, such as the US, France and Switzerland.
Russian antiques could be replaced by those from the US, China and France, while more white fish could be imported from China, Norway and Vietnam.
It is not yet clear whether caviar will be included in the ban, and a more detailed list is expected to be released by the Ministry of International Trade in the coming days.
Among the companies that have already made changes is cocktail bar group Nightcap, owned by former Dragons’ Den investor Sarah Willingham, which has replaced Russian vodka with a Ukrainian vodka called Nemiroff at its 27 locations. These include The Adventure Bar Group, Barrio Familia and The Cocktail Club brands.
Marine fishing industry group Seafish has suggested that British importers could try to buy alternatives to Russian whitefish – cod and haddock – such as Alaska pollock and locally sourced hake, which will soon be more common in UK fish and shops.
And British restaurateur Richard Caring has stopped using Russian caviar in all Annabel’s and Ivy restaurants, but it’s not yet clear what it will be replaced with.
The UK said Russian imports of a range of products will face additional tariff increases, on top of all existing tariffs under the terms of the move.
And the export of high-end luxury goods to Russia has been banned in a move that will affect Moscow’s access to British luxury vehicles, high-end fashion and works of art as part of a concerted action by the UK and its allies in the G7 group of to land.
Which Russian products will see additional tariff increases?
Russian imports of the following products will face an additional tariff increase of 35 percentage points, on top of the existing tariffs:
- rail containers
- iron ore
- residue/food waste products
- spirits and vinegar (including vodka)
- glass and glassware
- paper and cardboard
- works of art
- fur hides and artificial fur
- white fish
The Department of International Trade said the export ban will ensure that oligarchs and other members of the elite who have become wealthy under President Putin’s rule and support his illegal invasion are denied access to luxury goods.
The most recent sanctions also include a move to deny Russia and Belarus access to the so-called most-favoured-nation tariff on hundreds of their exports, depriving both countries of the key benefits of World Trade Organization (WTO) membership.
Britain further announced that it would stop all government-backed export financing to Russia and Belarus, meaning it will no longer provide new guarantees, loans and insurance for exports to the countries.
International Trade Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with our international partners in our determination to punish Putin for his barbaric actions in Ukraine, and we will continue our work to starve his regime to death.” of the funds given him to carry them out.’
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, added: “Our new tariffs will further isolate the Russian economy from world trade so that it does not benefit from the rules-based international system that it does not respect.”
It comes after the government last week frozen assets and imposed travel bans on seven Russian oligarchs, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.
The imported Russian goods affected by the surcharge span a range of sectors and include goods such as spirits and vinegar, iron, steel, fertilizers, timber, tires and railway containers.
Also on the list are cement, copper, aluminum, silver, lead, beverages, glass and glassware, grains, oilseeds, paper, machinery, works of art, antiques, fur hides and artificial fur, ships and whitefish.
The government said further details on the luxury goods covered by the export ban would follow “in due course.”
Russian vodka will be one of the goods worth around £900 million to be hit with an additional 35 percent tariff. The other major exporters of vodka in the world include Sweden, France and Poland
Russian fur coats are also among the products to be subject to an additional 35 percent tariff after the UK government changes – but fur can also be imported from Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia
Russian artworks are also on the list of products subject to higher tariffs following the government’s announcement, but three other major exporters of art are the US, France and Switzerland
Russian antiques are also affected, but the US, China and France are also major antique exporters
Whitefish is also one of the products, but it is for sale in China, Norway and Vietnam
Britain exported £193 million worth of goods to Russia in January alone and £3 billion in 2021.
UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, has also supported £189.9 million in exports to Russia since the invasion of Crimea in 2014, mainly for oil and mining companies and for deals involving companies whose owners are now sanctioned by the US, EU or UK.
Over the same period, a further £7.6 million was supported for export to Belarus.