Expect More Russia Sanctions, Export Controls, Top U.S. Official Says

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Sanctions packages targeting Russia likely to grow as US seeks to hobble Russia, Commerce Department official says

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“I think you’re going to continue to see additional sanctions and export controls roll out,” Mr. Axelrod said. “It’s not like we’ve done all that we’re going to do.”

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The US and its allies have imposed a formidable slate of sanctions and other measures on Russia in response to the country’s recent invasion of Ukraine, significantly complicating the country’s efforts to engage with the international business and finance community.

Mr. Axelrod works to enforce US export laws, which the government uses to keep sensitive goods and technology out of the hands of hostile powers. The restrictions complement US sanctions that block the movement of money.

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Sanctions can have an immediate “bite,” while export controls cause shortages and other issues that compound over time, Mr. Axelrod said. Some Russian tank and chip factories have, for example, been recently forced to halt production because of shortages caused by export controls, he said.

The onslaught of US export controls has targeted a range of industries. For example, on Monday the US announced new controls on a range of relatively low-technology goods—from saw blades to wood panels and air conditioner parts—that can’t be exported to Russia without a license, a move meant to disrupt a swath of Russia’s economy.

The export controls are “unpreceded in their scope, but they’re also unprecedented in another way, and that is the multilateral international coordination,” Mr. Axelrod said.

He added that countries are working to make sure that they not only coordinate on which controls are imposed, but also on sharing information to aid in enforcement.

So far, the Commerce Department hasn’t seen significant evidence of evasion, Mr. Axelrod said. Companies in countries that haven’t imposed their own sanctions regime—notably China—also haven’t moved to fill the void left by the absence of US goods, he said.

“Companies are rightly concerned about what the impact would be to them if they were to violate our controls,” he said.

Write to Richard Vanderford at [email protected]

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Credit: www.wsj.com /

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