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US and UK imposed sanctions on import of aluminum, copper, nickel from Russia

US and UK imposed sanctions on import of aluminum, copper, nickel from Russia Illustrative photo (photo: Getty Images)

The US Department of the Treasury, in coordination with the UK, has implemented two new restrictions to limit the income Russia receives from the export of aluminium, copper, and nickel, according to the US Treasury and the UK Treasury.

The decision prohibits the import of aluminium, copper, and nickel of Russian origin into the United States and restricts the use of aluminium, copper, and nickel of Russian origin on global metal exchanges and in over-the-counter derivatives trading.

"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," said US Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen.

The US Treasury issued a new determination banning the importation of aluminium, copper, and nickel into the US originating from the Russian Federation, manufactured on or after April 13, 2024.

The Ministry of Finance also issued an additional determination that prohibits:

  • the export, re-export, sale, or supply of warranty services for metals produced on or after April 13, 2024, to any person located in the Russian Federation on the global metal exchange;
  • acquisition services for metals produced on or after April 13, 2024, as part of a physical settlement under a derivative contract.

As a result of today's collective actions, metal exchanges such as the London Metal Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange will be prohibited from accepting new aluminium, copper, and nickel produced in Russia.

The UK Treasury website states that the joint actions of the UK and the US are based on an import ban on metal aimed at exporting aluminium, copper, and nickel from Russia totalling $40 billion.

"The UK and the US have together announced joint action to clamp down harder on prohibited Russian metal exports, by today bringing the world’s two largest metal exchanges into the scope of the existing bans," the press release said.

At the same time, the UK ministry notes that there are no restrictions on the purchase of existing stocks of Russian metal already on the exchange to prevent market disruptions.

This action does not extend to titanium or platinum group metals such as platinum and palladium, which were not included in the UK's December ban due to supply chain sensitivity.

Significance of sanctions

According to the UK Treasury, metals are Russia's largest export commodity after energy resources, although their value has decreased since Russia invaded Ukraine. In 2022, they amounted to $25 billion, dropping to $15 billion in 2023 due to efforts by the G7 and allies to unwind the market. Today's actions will further limit Russia's ability to earn money from metal exports, dealing another blow to dictator Vladimir Putin's financing of his illegal war against Ukraine.

In March, the Baltic countries and Czechia proposed to the EU to ban the import of ferrous metals, copper, and aluminium scrap and waste from Russia.