Italy’s luxury sector and Belgium’s diamond leaders question effectiveness Russian sanctions
Belgium’s diamond businesses and Italy’s luxury sector were two countries who voted against Russian sanctions, citing the possibility their own nations would suffer the damage.
The Brussels Times reported more than 1 billion euros of Russian diamonds passed through the Belgian port in 2020.
Sanctions are well & good, but not when it affects my business.
Russian oligarchs like doing personal business outside Russia.
These Countries Have ‘Disgraced Themselves’ in Blocking Russian Sanctions
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised “massive” sanctions that would cripple Russia’s financial standing. But it was soon clear that Russia’s tentacles are so deeply embedded in Europe’s strongest economies that punishing Putin will come at a high price. Italy has asked that luxury goods so dear to Russian oligarchs be excluded. Germany pushed for an exemption on the energy sector before eventually halting Nord Stream 2 certification but on Thursday refused to agree to block Russia from the SWIFT bank payment system. Other countries, including Hungary, dug in hard to block the toughest sanctions on the table.
First Russia Sanction Casualty: Biden to Hold Off Sanctions On Aluminum
Russian aluminum accounts for about 10% of U.S. imports. So Biden holds off.
MISH FEB 24, 2022
Amazing isn’t it.
Trudeau announces sanctions on Putin, calls for Russia’s removal from SWIFT banking system
Sanctions will also apply to Russia’s foreign minister and Putin’s chief of staff
Nick Boisvert · CBC News · Posted: Feb 25, 2022 4:58 PM ET
U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum
On June 1, 2018, the U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on imports of Canadian steel and a 10 percent tariff on imports of Canadian aluminum under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which relates to perceived effect of imports on U.S. national security. Jan 7, 2022
Trudeau is now calling for Russia’s removal from SWIFT, the Belgian-based banking system used for many international financial transactions.
I see “banning SWIFT access” being bandied around a lot these days with most journalists apparently not being clear what SWIFT really is. It is a network connecting mainly financial institutions that allows exchange of authenticated messages, including payment instructions, account balance information, security settlement, trade finance. It is not a “payment system” per se. Banning the use of SWIFT will be akin to banning someone from Twitter for foul speach - making life more difficult, but not getting their message out albeit in a less efficient way.
So the outcry for “banning Russia from SWIFT” is really double-speak for banning Russia from international financial transactions (including debt repayments), or more broadly, from international trade altogether, including energy and commodities.
Of course the stakes are unpleasantly high here - far beyond Italy’s luxury goods sector. Much easier to keep selling rope.