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US, UK jointly expand sanctions against Russian metals

by Abbey Fenbert April 13, 2024 2:36 AM 2 min read
A worker uses a tool to move molten aluminum in the electrolysis bath inside the electrolysis shop at the Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelter, operated by United Co. Rusal, in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, on March 2, 2017. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The United States and the United Kingdom will ban Russian exports of aluminum, copper, and nickel from the world's largest metal exchanges, the governments of the U.S. and U.K. announced on April 12.

Metals are Russia's second-largest export commodity after energy products, though sanctions have decreased their value since the start of the full-scale invasion.

The new action will block Russian metal producers from profits from the London Metal Exchange (LME) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). According to a press release from the U.K. government, the move targets $40 billion in Russian aluminum, copper, and nickel exports.

"Thanks to Britain's leadership in this area, our decisive action with the U.S. to jointly ban Russian metals from the two largest exchanges will prevent the Kremlin funnelling more cash into its war machine," U.K. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt said.

The U.K. introduced legislation to ban the imports of Russian metals, including aluminum, copper, and nickel, in December 2023. The U.S. announced tariffs on Russian aluminum in February 2023.

"Our new prohibitions on key metals, in coordination with our partners in the United Kingdom, will continue to target the revenue Russia can earn to continue its brutal war against Ukraine," U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

The new sanctions do not restrict the acquisition of Russian metals that are already on exchange, in order to limit disruptions to markets.

The E.U. reportedly considered introducing a ban on Russian aluminum in its last round of sanctions, but did not include such a ban in the eventual package approved in February 2024.

Canada announced a ban on Russian aluminum and steel products in March 2023.

Bloomberg: US sanctions office looks into chip supply companies over use in Russia’s war
U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is investigating several U.S. and foreign companies for supplying military-purpose chips which end up in Russia, Bloomberg reported on April 12, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
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