Instead, the administration has focused on ratcheting up economic pressure.
“What I would tell you is that when I said we have not let anything go unanswered, what I mean is that we have amped up a range of military and security assistance, a historic amount to Ukraine, including a range of defensive weapons, which we’ve expedited the delivery,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Thursday.
The Russia-Ukraine War and the Global Economy
“And we have basically crushed the Russian economy,” she said.
The administration said Friday that Mr. Biden had spoken with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and told him about the measures, saying they would put further pressure on Russia.
The impact of revoking Russia’s preferential trade status remains to be seen.
The rules of the World Trade Organization require that all members grant each other “most favored nation” trading status — which the United States also calls “permanent normal trade relations” — in which goods can flow at lower tariff rates between countries. If the United States suspends that trading status, the tariffs charged on Russian products would revert to rates set by the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.
Under those 1930 rates, the tariffs that would be applied to some of Russia’s most critical exports to the United States, like minerals and chemicals, would still be very low, according to research by Ed Gresser, the director for trade and global markets at the Progressive Policy Institute.
Mr. Gresser said the Smoot-Hawley tariffs of the 1930s were designed to charge high tariffs on imports of manufactured goods and farm products, but low rates on imports of raw materials, in order to limit costs for U.S. factories. As a major energy and mineral producer, much of what Russia sends the United States falls into those categories.
The U.S. tariff on palladium, for example, which is used in catalytic converters, would remain at 0 percent both before and after the change, according to Mr. Gresser’s research. Tariffs on other significant exports from Russia, like king crab, uranium and urea, which is used in fertilizer, would also remain at 0 percent.
Tariffs would be somewhat higher for other products, like unwrought aluminum alloy, birch-faced plywood, bullets and certain steel products.