- Russian President Vladimir Putin heavily criticised the US’s recent protectionist trade policies during a speech in St. Petersburg, Russia.
- While Putin did not refer to President Donald Trump by name, the Russian president attacked recent tariffs and the increase in protectionism from the US.
- “We do not need trade wars or even temporary trade truces. We need full-time trade peace,” Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin took US President Donald Trump to task over a recent increase in trade barriers and an abandonment of the international trade order, all without saying his counterpart’s name.
In a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin disparaged recent trade protectionism from countries including the US and urged nations to recommit to free trade.
“We do not need trade wars or even temporary trade truces,” Putin told a crowd of world leaders. “We need full-time trade peace.”
In addition to the general comments about protectionism, Putin also specifically attacked Trump’s recent tariffs. Without specifically mentioning the US, the Russian president criticised the use of national security as a rationale for trade barriers.
Trump’s recent steel and aluminium tariffs were predicated on national security grounds, and the newly-announced investigation into auto imports is using the same rationale. Trade experts have criticised the move and said the explanation undermines the international trading order.
In reference to the disruption of the World Trade Organisation rules, Putin said, “breaking rules is now the rule.”
The extended comments on the need for a liberal international trading order are interesting considering Russia’s history of Communism and the control Putin maintains over the country’s domestic economy.
Putin called these sanctions “a new edition of protectionism” and suggested the US was out of bounds by imposing restrictions on Russia.
In April, the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on ” seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank.”
These sanctions have had serious economic consequences in Russia. The leadership of Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminium company that produces 7% of the world’s supply, was hit by sanctions targeted at one of the companies main investors – Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
The sanctions helped to contribute to the increase in global aluminium prices, and Rusal reportedly requested the Russian government start buying their excess aluminium to boost the company on Thursday.
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