Japan will keep Russia stripped of its “most-favored-nation” trade status beyond the scheduled expiration of the measure at the end of this month amid Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a government source said Wednesday.
The punitive steps, taken in unison with the United States and other Group of Seven members, are likely to remain in place for another year through the end of March 2024 to continue to pressure Moscow, such as through higher tariffs.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet is expected to decide on the revision of related government ordinances later this month for the extension, the source said.
Tokyo revoked Russia’s most-favored-nation status as part of a series of economic sanctions, such as asset freezes targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian central bank, in the wake of the war that began in February last year.
Without the most-favored-nation status under the World Trade Organization rules, which gives a country the best possible trade terms on key products, tariffs imposed on salmon imported from Russia have been raised to 5 percent from 3.5 percent and those on crab to 6 percent from 4 percent.
Meanwhile, tariffs on crude oil, liquefied natural gas, coal and palladium, a key metal used in electronics, have not been affected since they were originally duty-free.
Japan’s imports from Russia totaled 1.97 trillion yen ($15 billion) in 2022, up 26.9 percent from the previous year, as energy prices soared amid supply disruptions triggered by the war in Ukraine.