Thursday, June 1, 2023

Biden will ask the G7 to impose an almost total ban on exports to Russia

The president of United States, Joe Bidenwill ask the G7 leaders this week to impose an almost total ban on exports to Russia, a source familiar with the talks within the Group of Seven told EFE.

According to that source, the war in Ukraine will be the central theme of the summit that the G7 will hold between May 19 and 21 in the city of Hiroshima (Japan).

Specifically, Biden wants to change the way in which West has so far restricted its exports to Russia with the purpose of eliminating the legal loopholes that have allowed the Kremlin to continue accessing certain products through third countries.

Instead of restricting the exports sector by sector, Biden wants the G7 to impose a full veto to exports to Russia and include exceptions in areas such as agriculture, food and medical materials in order not to harm the population, the aforementioned source explained.

This proposalpromoted by Washington to punish Russia for the war in Ukraine, could face difficulties in its implementation within the European Unionsince each of the 27 members of the community bloc must agree to these measures.

In any case, if carried out, the veto would have a profound impact in the Russian economy.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the West imposed restrictions to the export to Russia of luxury goods and materials that could be used in war. In addition, the G7 agreed not to buy Russian seaborne crude when its price exceeds $60 a barrel.

However, despite these restrictions, the G7 continues to export goods valued at US$4.7 billion to Russia every month, mainly chemical materials, medicines, food and machinery, according to data from the American think tank The Atlantic Council.

If the veto were implemented, exports to Russia would be reduced by a 67%reaching only US$1.5 billion a month, according to the same institution.

However, the talks are continuing and the US proposal could be changed to appease the doubts not only of some countries of the European Union, but also of Japanwho has behaved cautiously towards Russia due to its reliance on Russian oil and natural gas.


Although Russia will be one of the protagonists of the summit, the rivalry of the United States with China will also feature prominently.

In fact, according to a US official told EFE, Biden plans to make important announcements related to the great plan of infrastructures launched by the G7 at their summit last year in Germany, known as the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII).

Through this plan, the G7 committed to mobilizing $600 billion in five years to counter the Chinese mega-project “One Belt, One Road”, launched in 2013 by the Chinese president, Xi Jinpingwith the aim of expanding China’s influence around the world through investments in infrastructure and telecommunications.

So far, the G7 plan has failed progress significant. However, at their April meeting in Japan, the group’s foreign ministers expressed their intention to boost the PGII with further investment in areas such as energy, transport and health.

And now, Biden is expected to do in the margins important announcements about that plan from the summit, said the aforementioned US official.


According to the same source, Biden will also take advantage of the G7 summit to build bridges with the so-called “Global South”especially taking advantage of the presence of the Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvaalong with other leaders of countries that are not part of the Group of Seven.

In particular, Biden intends to discuss with these leaders the initiatives of the new president of the world Bank (WB), Indian-American Ajay Banga, to help developing countries combat poverty and the effects of climate change.

Banga was elected president of the World Bank just two weeks ago with the back of the countries with emerging economies and will take office on June 2.

Finally, Biden is expected to reiterate his commitment to work towards a world without nuclear weaponsa highly symbolic message given that the summit is being held in Hiroshima, one of the two cities bombed by the United States in 1945 during World War II.

The United States has never apologized for the bombings. Biden will be the second US president to visit Hiroshima, after the 2016 visit of Barack Obama (2009-2017), whose embrace of a survivor of the tragedy became a symbol of reconciliation between the two countries.


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