US tariffs draw another retaliation threat, as Russia joins in

Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, on May 24, 2018.
Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, on May 24, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (BLOOMBERG) - Russia is the latest country to threaten the US with retaliation for tariffs on metals imports, warning Friday (June 22) that American cars could soon face higher taxes.

Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said autos from the US could be targeted, just days after saying that the government also is likely to hit American road-building equipment with higher levies. Both moves are in response to new US tariffs on steel and aluminum, important Russian exports.

US trade partners from the European Union to China are imposing new tariffs in retaliation for the moves by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Russia estimated the economic damage from the US moves at US$538 million, but the economy ministry said this week that initially not more than US$100 million in imports from the US are likely to be hit with higher levies.

Final decisions on what tariffs Russia will raise are expected in the near future. Oreshkin said the government isn't planning to slap higher taxes on US pharmaceuticals, a politically sensitive area.

The US is Russia's sixth-largest trading partner, according to the ministry, with turnover of US$23.1 billion in 2017. Imports from the US totalled US$12.5 billion, with aircraft, vehicles and pharmaceuticals among the largest individual components.

Imports of cars and other passenger vehicles totalled US$837 million last year.